Message from the Board of DirectorsDear USA Team Handball Members, Alumni, and Friends,
It has now been two months since Mike Cavanaugh has returned to our family as CEO of USA Team Handball. It is also six months since Dr. Harvey Schiller has agreed to serve as President and Chairman of the Board. The purpose of this letter is to explain what the Board of Directors and Federation Staff have been working on, what we have planned, and where we are trying to go.
The past six months have primarily been focused on transition, and getting through our major events: College Nationals, Open Nationals, and the recent international training and competition events that included both of our Senior National Teams. Mike has been working on these items, as well as transitioning from Matt and Mariusz (thanks to both for all you did), and re-aligning with the USOC in his new role. This has included multiple state audits, insurance policy renewals, and attempting to make sure that everything is in order as we move forward (especially our budgets).
Mike and Bob Djokovich met with the USOC Sports Performance Partners to discuss the current situation with the sport. The USOC is very supportive of USA TEAM HANDBALL. Key outcomes of the discussions:
• USOC has tentatively agreed to provide USATH with an intern, as well as bookkeeping help to make sure everything is in order heading into 2015.
• USOC has expressed interest in providing additional VIK when appropriate.
• USOC has a database of athletes that they would be willing to introduce to handball once we have proven that our house is firmly in order.
• USOC has been clear that USA TEAM HANDBALL cannot count on additional funding.
Auburn University Partnership
Our partnership with Auburn University as our official training site continues to grow and become stronger. Key updates include:
• USOC is eager to help us in our relationship with Auburn University. They consider this an excellent potential partnership, and are willing to work with us to get AU designated as an “Olympic Training Site” and possibly as a Community Olympic Development Program. This could lead to additional support and funding in the future. We have initiated activity with Auburn to see if we can make this happen in the next six months.
• We have signed an agreement with REHABWORKS in Auburn to provide sports medicine and injury rehabilitation services to our resident National Team athletes.
• We have submitted a bid to host the Qualification Tournament in Auburn for the 2015 Pan American Games. We will provide updates in the future.
2015 Pan Am Games Qualification
It is our intention to try and qualify both the Men’s and Women’s Senior National Teams for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. We will provide additional updates on this in the near future.
We continue to expand our fundraising efforts. We have received over $80,000 YTD in donations (a big thank you Harvey for leading that effort). We recently signed an apparel sponsorship with Nike to supply competition and training apparel to our National Teams. A corporate sponsorship deck has been created and will be sent out to over 100 companies. We continue to work with Auburn University to develop local fundraising opportunities to support our programs and athletes. Fundraising is a critical element in ensuring the success and viability of USA TEAM HANDBALL. We need membership help and support in this key effort for the following reasons:
1) It helps to legitimize us with the USOC as we start planning for the next four years.
2) It helps to legitimize us with Nike and other current/potential sponsors.
3) It continues to strengthen and legitimize our relationship with Auburn to help facilitate local fund raising.
Member Outreach Program
Board Members will be reaching out to the clubs in the next month to start talking about better alliance between the clubs, nurturing leagues, and USATH. We will look to drive synergy across all the activity surrounding handball and drive efficiencies where we can.
We will also be reaching out to our Olympic Team and National Team alumni within the next two months, as many of our previous athletes and Olympians have disengaged. It is our intention to start a website (or webpage on the USATH site) including pictures and historical information from the 60’s through the present that can be uploaded or downloaded. More on this will be revealed as we continue to progress.
Lastly, spearheaded by the USA Team Handball Foundation, the creation of the USA Team Handball Hall of Fame is in process, with the first induction and dinner presentation at next year’s Open Nationals. More on this will be revealed as it progresses.
• We will be looking to extend the Auburn activity in the Southeast Region to include more schools and more clubs.
• We will begin (actually, already have begun) getting handball into the local schools in the Auburn region as the initial steps in our development programs. It is our hope that most of this activity will be locally funded. This is the space where we will seek Community Olympic Development Program recognition from the USOC.
• We will work with the referees, building on the recent success of Lars Jorgensen and Christian Posch becoming IHF certified. They just returned from a successful experience as referees in Uruguay at the Men’s Pan American Championships.
• We will become more active in our coaching certification programs. This will include sending our National Team coaches to the different geographies to interact with the local leagues and local clubs as well as having interested coaches spend time working with our National Team coaches in Auburn.
• We have developed (and continue to work on) a five year strategic plan in partnership with the USOC.
As always, we appreciate any feedback and ideas you may have regarding the growth of USATH.
USATH Board of Directors