Letter to athletes from USAT CEO regarding National Team Head Coach hiring

April 09, 2013, 7:51 p.m. (ET)

As the new Interim CEO of USA Taekwondo, I was faced with several issues that warranted my immediate attention, one of which was the selection of a Coach or Coaches for USA Taekwondo. Coach contracts expired on Dec. 31, 2012, and our organization was left without a coaching staff after that time. It was my decision to put into place a selection procedure that would be inclusive and not exclusive of those coaches who wished to be considered for the job of Head Coach. To that end, we published a call for coach candidates on the USAT website. Following that, I selected a Coach Selection Committee with the sole purpose of advising me on whom they felt should be hired as the USAT Head Coach. That committee screened the list of coach candidates who applied and narrowed the list to eight highly-qualified coach candidates. The list was then narrowed a list of five finalists. The five finalists were flown to Colorado Springs for in-person interviews in front of the Selection Committee. The Selection Committee consisted of the following persons: USAT High Performance Director, Meredith Miller; Coaching Science Committee Chair, Brian McCutcheon; USAT AAC Rep, Barb Kunkel; and USOC AAC Rep, Lynda Laurin. As Interim CEO, I was present at all of the deliberations in order to be able to make an informed decision.

The responsibility for hiring a Coach for USA Taekwondo has always been the responsibility of the CEO. That is true in this case as well. I read all of the applications, screened all of the resumes submitted, listened to the questions and responses of the eight with whom telephone interviews were conducted, and I was present at the in-person interviews with the finalists. Even with the advice and recommendations given to me by the Search Committee, it was always my decision to make.

As USOC AAC Representative, Ms. Laurin conducted an athlete poll to ascertain the will and pleasure of the athletes. Additionally, athletes commented on their preferences regarding the hiring of a Head Coach. I read each and every email that was written and submitted by the athletes and I considered every expressed opinion from the pool of athletes. I gave full consideration to the opinions expressed before making a final decision regarding whom to hire.

As the new Interim CEO of USA Taekwondo, part of what I want to do is to take our organization in a new direction, one with open communication, one that will serve to unite our membership, and one that will demonstrate fairness and equal opportunity to all athletes, coaches and members. I never lose sight of the fact that our organization is athlete-centered and that doing what is in the best interests of our athletes should remain foremost in all that we seek to achieve with our organization. I want to revitalize what I see as a broken athlete pipeline by giving fair and equal opportunity to the preponderance of athletes throughout the USA who do belong to one camp or another. Again, I believe that all athletes have the right for fair and equal consideration when it comes to making the USA National Team and representing our country in international competitions.

In keeping with my goal of moving our organization in a different direction, it was my decision to go to a one-coach system instead of the two-coach system previously in place at USA Taekwondo. I also weighed the merits of each coach and I decided that Patrice Remarck was, in my mind, the best fit for the direction in which I seek to move our organization. In no way was my selection of Coach Remarck intended to be a slight to any of the other Coach candidates. Each of our final Coach candidates brought great strengths to the job consideration, strengths that I hope will be used to help to develop future athletes to represent our country, and strengths that will be brought to bear in coaching our existing team of USA Taekwondo athletes. It is my fervent hope that our coaches will all work together to better develop our pool of current athletes, and to develop a pipeline of athletes that will represent us beyond 2016. There is a place for all of our Coach finalists. It is up to them to choose to work together to make our U.S. Team the best that it can be, or to choose to stand back and refuse to help our team to reach its potential. No matter who would have been selected as USA Taekwondo Head Coach, that person would not have been able to make our team the best possible by him/herself. It is through a cooperative effort that our athletes will achieve greater success. That is what I am asking of our coaches and of our athletes. Decide to work together to produce the best training for our athletes. In return, we will achieve the best results by our athletes.

Having made the decision to select Coach Patrice Remarck, it is my hope and desire that our USAT team of athletes and coaches unite and support Coach Remarck in trying to achieve a common goal of excellence that manifests itself on the medal podium. We all recognize that we are behind in training and preparing the team for a very critical competition- the upcoming World Championships in Puebla, Mexico. We need to maximize what little time remains to prepare and to train and to get mentally focused on the task at hand. World Championships this year are more critical to making the Olympic Team for 2016 than ever before. Some may disagree with my hiring decision, but it is time to put that behind us. Again, I ask that we all unite and support Coach Remarck and our current USA Taekwondo National Team as they prepare for crucial competitions that will be a strong determinant factor in who will make the 2016 Rio Olympic Games Taekwondo Team. I believe that a fair and open hiring process was put into place and was adhered to. Once again, even with all of the advice received from many areas of concern, to include the athletes, ultimately it was the decision of one person— me. I appreciate those who have taken the time to express their support of my decision, as well as those who took the time to express their concern over my decision. Let us all unite and give as much support to our Head Coach and team as they prepare to represent the USA in international competition.

~Bruce Harris