Athlete development director resigns

July 02, 2009, 11:08 a.m. (ET)

(STEVENS POINT, Wis.) - Ed Lukowich has resigned from his consultancy position as athlete development director.

"After nine years in the position of USCA athlete development director, I feel it is time for a change both for me, and in particular, the USCA to move in a new direction with long-term goals for the future of the USA curling program," said Lukowich, of Calgary, Canada.

A world champion and Olympian for Canada, Lukowich, 63, was a fixture at national championships, World Championships and two Olympic Games, helping the American teams improve on the competitive scene in his role as athlete development director. During his tenure, USA won its first-ever women's world championship (2003), first Olympic medal (men's bronze, 2006), and also won two world junior championships (2002 and 2008). Lukowich also coached the U.S. men's team that won gold in the 2007 Winter World University Games.

As athlete development director, Lukowich helped shape the USCA's competitive team training programs, conducted high performance camps, instructed teams and coaches on strategy and tactics, and was an integral part of the high performance support staff at multiple events from the World Curling Tour on up to Olympic Games.

"Ed brought a new level of curling expertise to the USA and made major contributions to this country's rising success since joining our team in June 2000," said Rick Patzke, USCA chief operating officer. "He will certainly be missed, but we respect his decision to move on."

No information about a search for a new athlete development director is available at this time, or even whether that role will continue to exist. However, the USCA will ensure that the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team nominees in training will continue to receive critical high performance support in the areas of expertise under Lukowich's domain.

"With less than eight months to go before the Vancouver Olympics, it is crucial that we continue to provide our Olympic team nominees-as well as our other competitive athletes-with support and training in the technical areas of curling brought to the program by someone like Ed," Patzke said. "We do have a strong high performance team in place around our Vancouver-bound athletes now, and have been working very closely with U.S. Olympic Committee staff to make sure that we do everything possible to maximize our teams' potential for success in 2010."

The U.S. Curling Association is sponsored by AIT Worldwide Logistics, Nike and Bit Rail, Inc.