Many listeners of this podcast will know my history with USA Curling. I spent nearly five years on the Board as a Director and a representative of the Athletes’ Advisory Council, and believe the organization can serve our sport well. But there was also much about USA Curling that frustrated me. When there was a call for the first CEO of USA Curling, I served on the Search Committee but eventually resigned from both the committee and the Board to pursue the position myself. At the time, from among the pool of candidates, I felt I could do the job most effectively. When others didn’t agree with me, I remained hopeful that someone new, with fresh perspectives, would be hired. When that didn’t happen, I was extremely disappointed.
So that’s full disclosure. I am not currently a fan of USA Curling or its leadership. I’d rather be forthright and honest than polite. There continues to be scant accountability for results and an absence of transparency, particularly in the High Performance Program, and the lack of sponsorship money — not to mention our one-sided agreement with Nike — rankles me. I realize not all will agree with me, but I know many others share my opinions.
I am, to be clear, a supporter of a High Performance Program at USA Curling, and funding for a small, elite pool of athletes. But I think the structure has to be different than the one we have and I believe the lack of consistency from year-to-year reflects badly on the leadership. (And please don’t get me started on the “Combine.”)
With all that said, I admire and respect Rich Lepping, the current Chair of USA Curling. As I mention in this episode, I was very disappointed when former Chair Dave Carlson resigned, because I believe he was a force for positive change, but the appointment of Rich does make me hopeful. It was not an easy interview because I wanted to make sure I was fair to Rich.
I hope you’ll listen to this episode and form your own conclusions on the current state of USA Curling. I’m always open to discussing any of thoughts on our great sport, whether it’s in my home country or elsewhere. Don’t be afraid to reach out to me. My email is on this site and you can find me on Twitter.
Finally, I apologize for the long hiatus. I had a busy summer and getting new podcasts done had to be a lesser priority. With the season underway, you can look forward to a regular schedule.