Mercyhurst University is proud to have three alums,  and one current hockey play in Pyeongchang for the Olympics.
           

But Edinboro University boasts an alum in the Olympic coaching ranks.
 

Most moms love to see their children succeed, and that's certainly the case for the mother of USA half-pipe coach, Rick Shimpeno.
           

She'll be watching as her son's team goes for gold in Pyeongchang from her home in Florida. But it's almost as if she's right there, cheering on the sidelines.
 

"He just put one foot in front of the other."

Rick Shimpeno's mother, Diana, describes her son as quiet and motivated. And it's his motivation that lead him down an unexpected path.



As he graduated from Edinboro (University), he came home one day and said Id like to try and go to Aspen."

And rick did just that, to peruse his dreams of being a snowboarder. And 20 years, several moves a, marriage, and child later, he hasn't looked back.

ANDREW HYMAN: And as a mother, what's that like to see your son kind of, take that by the reigns, and maybe go on a journey that most, might not?

"I
ve always told friends, and family that say, what's Rick doing?, When is he gonna get a real job? Diana said And I say he's not asking me for money, he's done it all on his own."
 

It's his patient, go-getter mentality that's helped Rick to grow to where he is now.


"Ya gotta be proud of that, you know, they're not coming home, asking for money, or need to move back in.
Diana said He's perused what he wanted to do, and followed through with everything."
 

 Regardless of how his team performs, Rick Shimpeno will always be a winner. And no matter what, he'll have his number one fan watching.


"I
m very proud of him... Yeah, very." Diana said

Diana tells Erie News Now, Rick's passion was originally tennis, before he switched to snowboarding.

And while neither lives in Edinboro anymore, both Diana and Rick will always consider the area their home.

You can catch Rick’s team as part of NBC’s Olympic coverage on WICU.