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US coach back with men's volleyball after attack

Aug. 16, 2008, 3:55 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon rejoined his team Saturday after missing the team's first three games because of an attack on his in-laws at a popular tourist site in Beijing.

McCutcheon's father-in-law, Todd Bachman, was fatally stabbed one week ago. His mother-in-law, Barbara Bachman, was badly wounded. Barbara Bachman has been airlifted from Beijing to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where she is listed in fair condition. Hospital officials said she was alert, talking and had good memory function.

The Bachmans are the parents of McCutcheon's wife, former volleyball Olympian Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman McCutcheon.

"We are indebted to the physicians and caregivers at Peking Union Medical College Hospital who have done such a wonderful job providing Barbara with the medical care she needed," Hugh McCutcheon said in a statement distributed by USA Volleyball. "We are also extremely appreciative of the support we have received from people here in Beijing, the United States, New Zealand and around the world. The prayers and support have been a source of strength for our family during this difficult time."

The Bachmans were in Beijing as part of a tour group for the Olympics, and their visit to the Drum Tower was part of their group's schedule. A Chinese tour guide also was wounded in the attack by the assailant, Tang Yongming, who leapt to his death from a balcony of the 13th-century Drum Tower.

The slaying, just hours after the Olympic opening ceremony and on the day competition began, shocked the athletic community and embarrassed Chinese leaders determined to hold flawless games.

McCutcheon has been with his family at the Beijing hospital where Barbara Bachman underwent eight hours of surgery after the attack. McCutcheon's wife and her two sisters traveled back to the United States with their mother.

Assistant Ron Larsen was interim head coach in McCutcheon's absence.

The U.S. men have gone undefeated in preliminary pool play, securing a spot in the quarterfinals. Pool play continued Saturday morning, with the United States facing China at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium, the smaller of the two volleyball venues.

The match drew a large crowd because of the host team. When McCutcheon was introduced before the game, clusters of American fans greeted him with a standing ovation.

During their games, the men wore "TB" and "BB" written on their shoes in honor of the Bachmans.

McCutcheon was not available for comment before the match.

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