May/June 2008 Interim Executive Director's Report
Nominating and Governance Reform Process: It was clearly the intention of the Nominating and Governance Committee (NGC) to have all candidates for the Independent and At Large Board seats complete the interview process before March 31, 2008. That became problematic however and the interview process has taken longer than originally projected. The reason behind the delay in the process has simply been that it became difficult to coordinate the schedules of the NGC with those in the candidate pool. It is also worthy to note that USATT Representatives to the USOC's Athlete Advisory Council (AAC), Ashu Jain and Whitney Ping, have launched the election process for the composition of the By-law defined USATT AAC. It is my forecast that we will have the new Board of USATT seated on or about May 15, 2008. Thanks for your patience in this endeavor.
Ping-Pong Diplomacy Rematch: The formal media and press release for this event will be issued on or about April 23 but for the purposes of this communication; I am comfortable enough to release as much information as I can to the USATT membership as of this date. The Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation, in partnership with USATT, will host the P-P-D Rematch in Yorba Linda, California, from June 10-12, 2008. This event is being coordinated through the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). The event will feature some involvement with area schools in a clinic setting, followed by a day of exhibition matches that is scheduled to include possible matches between local universities and clubs and will culminate in the Rematch series between age group representatives between the Chinese and the USA. Tim Boggan has agreed to be one of the participants to compete and our own Olympian from the Los Angeles area, Tawny Banh, will also be competing for the USA. Tawny has agreed to serve as the USA Team Manager and logistical coordinator for the event. All area clubs will receive special notification once details are confirmed. We have already received significant inquiries from press and media regarding coverage of this event. It promises to be a very special occasion for table tennis in the USA.
North American Trials - Vancouver, Canada: By now everyone is aware that at the NAT, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 4 -6, Crystal Huang became the third USA woman to qualify for the Beijing Olympic Games. On the men's side, David Zhuang, also secured a berth on the USA Olympic Team. Congratulations to Crystal and David for their accomplishments. We also can be very proud of the other members of the USA athlete delegation. Han Xiao, Eric Owens, Ying Hua Cheng, Nan Li, Jacqueline Lee and Whitney Ping each represented the USA so wonderfully at the North American Trials.
National Team Issues: With appropriate AAC input and collaborative efforts with the Elite Athlete Committee Co-Chairs, Bob Fox and Ross Brown, we were able to update the National Team Agreement and Code of Conduct documents and see that they were ready for our athletes to review and execute for 2008. We continue to remain in close compliance with the U.S. Antidoping Agency with our NGB review responsibilities for our Out-Of Competition (OOC) testing pool. We have completed the sizing survey for our NT apparel needs for the Li Ning Corporation, official apparel sponsor of USATT, and we are now completing our sizing survey for our Junior, Cadet, and Paralympic athletes. We are also taking a proactive approach to seeing that available USOC benefits for our senior national team members are realized for those that are qualified for these programs.
USATT Website Ad Renewals: USATT staff have recently concluded a renewal effort with our website advertisers. I am pleased with the level of interest that has been expressed through this process. It is also clear to me that it is important to listen to the concerns of our sponsors and advertisers and I want to formalize a survey that will go to each entity with a presence on our USATT website to see how we might better serve their needs to maximize their ROI. I am also pleased with the progress and energy I am seeing from the USOC in the area of website integration with the USOC website. Soon we will share a connection to one another's websites and this will lead to a sharing of content that will provide additional features for USATT members.
Iranian - USA Goodwill Tour: We have confirmation that through a program supported by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Olympic Committee's International Relations Division, a delegation of Junior Iranian National Team Table Tennis athletes will participate in a training and competition tour in the USA in late June and early July. Exact details of this tour are still being finalized but it is envisioned that the tour will culminate with the Iranian delegation's participation in the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, July 2- 5, 2008.
PLAYS Conference: PLAYS = Pipeline Leadership for America's Youth Sport and a conference was held in Colorado Springs, hosted by the USOC. USATT was represented at PLAYS by Ross Brown and Teodor (Doru) Gheorghe. While every NGB is unique, this conference will focus on ways that have proven to be effective in other NGBs to solidify their athlete pipelines from intake to existing elite athletes. I've asked Ross and Doru to collaborate on a report of what they were able to assimilate from this conference in terms of ideas that are applicable for USATT's pipeline.
Red Cross Certification: I hope to soon formally announce a program geared for our members (especially our coaches and club operators) that will feature an on-line course through the American Red Cross entitled Coaches First Aid. There will be an opportunity to take additional courses but Coaches First Aid should be seen as essential to all of our coaches and club operators.
Personal Input: It continues to be a source of pride for me to represent USATT at monthly NGB meetings with top USOC staff. I am also pleased that Table Tennis is one of 30 + NGBs to be a dues paying member with ACES (Association of Chief Executives of Sports). ACES is a wonderful tool for any NGB who seeks immediate answers for best practices solutions for a wide range of common issues facing NGBs. I am also on the monthly calls with the leadership of the Chicago 2016 Applicant City leadership for their updates. I was honored when I was asked if they could use the report I offered to you in a previous CEO Corner as a template for other NGBs to use as an information piece for their respective memberships. I am pleasantly surprised at how many of you are so moved on an issue that you will pick up the phone and call me to express yourselves. Now I'm not asking that all 8000+ of you approach me on a regular fashion in this manner but I do promise to try and take each call and to provide some quality time for each of you and perhaps together we can work towards solutions to issues whenever possible and appropriate.
Michael D. Cavanaugh
Interim Executive Director - USA Table Tennis