Head Coach Roric Fink Resigns from Austin Swim Club

Updated with comments from Kevin Thompson, the co-owner of the Austin Swim Club.

A trio of coaches from the Austin Swim Club announced their resignation to the team on Monday. Head coach Roric Fink, head age group coach Matthew Byrd, and age group coach Mariah Harper will all leave the club.

Fink cited differences of opinion with the club’s owners, Megan, Patti, and Kevin Thompson, as the primary driver of his decision.

“I am extremely saddened to be making this announcement, but I am parting ways with Austin Swim Club. Although I enjoyed working with the amazing athletes and coaches at the club, owners Megan, Patti and Kevin Thompson and I have differing opinions and I felt it best at this time for me to go in another direction. I will deeply miss all of the athletes and coaches and am forever grateful for the passion you gave to your teammates and me in creating an unbelievable family atmosphere. I wish you all good luck as you figure out the next part of your life journey, and want you to know that I will do whatever I can to help you in the future.

“Thank you so much for our time together. I will miss you all, but will be continuing to root for you and am excited to watch who you become both in and out of the water. I appreciate your love, passion, dedication, and hard work. Those are the keys that will allow you to continue to strive and prosper in your futures.”

Fink says that he’s not sure what his next move will be, and is taking some time off to plan his path forward.

The club’s owner Kevin Thompson reached out to SwimSwam on Wednesday evening disputing Fink’s take. He says that the departure was “related to certain performance issues that we had addressed with him,” and added that Fink’s reasons are “inaccurate.”

Fink was hired as the new head coach of the Austin Swim Club in August 2020. That followed 8 seasons as an assistant and eventually associate head coach with the women’s team at the University of Texas. Fink had previously coached at Missouri (two seasons as associate head coach) and Arizona (seven seasons as an assistant coach).

Fink has also coached the Tempe Sun Devils Aquatic Club and with the powerhouse Tucson Ford club in prior USA Swimming experience.

Fink followed Brendan Hansen in that position, who resigned as the club’s head coach in 2018, citing “differing opinions as to the direction and operation of (the) team” with owners Patti and Kevin Thompson.”

While there were senior lead coaches between Hansen and Fink, none were designated as head coach.

Both cited similar reasons for leaving, specifically “differing opinions” with the club’s ownership.

Kevin Thompson is the former CEO of SolarWinds, a software company that includes among its clients nearly all of the Fortune 500 companies and a number of federal agencies, from 2010 until 2020.

The club was rated as a USA Swimming silver medal club in the 2021 Club Excellence rankings.

Among the program’s most noteworthy alumni are US World Junior Championship team member Matthew Willenbring and 2017 U.S. World Championships team member Dakota Luther. The club sent at least 13 athletes to college varsity squads in the class of 2021 alone, including schools like Texas, Ohio State, and Arizona State.

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Big mac #1
10 days ago

I would like to see all clubs a nonprofits

Chas E
Reply to  Big mac #1
10 days ago

Why? So parent run boards can micromanage in the same fashion and run good coaches like Roric out? Coach owned is the way.

titanicswimmer
Reply to  Chas E
10 days ago

Why? So tyrrant coaches can run unchecked and abuse children without any governance or oversight?

See, we can play this game all day. It’s a vicious circle and youth sports are a disaster nationally because we have too many people, coaches/parents/otherwise, running these massive professional clubs without the credentials or proper abilities to do so.

Dan
Reply to  titanicswimmer
10 days ago

The free market is the oversight…if you don’t like coach run teams then find a parent run team. There are numerous options in Austin.

Camelboar
Reply to  Braden Keith
10 days ago

What are the rules around swimming unattached? You can still get coached right?

Dan
Reply to  Braden Keith
10 days ago

Yes, there is a bureaucracy present that can be a barrier to entry into the marketplace. The main point is that there are plenty of options out there and a customer can choose between options provided. The most extreme of which would be starting your own team.

oxyswim
Reply to  titanicswimmer
10 days ago

If a coach is a tyrant, parents can remove their kids from a club.

Parents at the end of the day are going to be more concerned with their child than anything else. Hard to have a good big picture outlook when you’re all in on one individual.

applesandoranges
Reply to  Big mac #1
10 days ago

Not for profit status really means nothing. It is an accounting status to show no profits at the end of the year. It does not mean that people cannot make money, draw salaries, fund raise, beg for money, or pay expenses. It also isn’t going to stop obnoxious team owners from being obnoxious and throwing their weight around.

Big mac #1
Reply to  applesandoranges
10 days ago

But it means there are not greedy owners

Camelboar
Reply to  Big mac #1
10 days ago

lol

Remember Me?
Reply to  Big mac #1
10 days ago

Will you please be more specific about what a greedy owner is?

Huh
Reply to  Big mac #1
10 days ago

So naive

Joy
Reply to  Big mac #1
10 days ago

Oh, there are greedy non-profit “owners”/coaches. It’s all in the formal bylaws which most clubs do not make proactively available.

I’ve seen it all: sham boards, cash for lessons that go right into the non profit owner/coach’s pocket, magical visa gift cards used to hide cash, lifestyles that far outpace the Form 990 reported income, PPP loans that represent 50% of the club’s annual revenue even though facilities were only closed for 2 months and head count lane restrictions for another 2, new cars purchased during the pandemic, Travel Expenses that include spousal fuel costs to and from an unrelated job site.
So, while a Board-owned club has it’s downfalls, at least we know that there are multiple officers… Read more »

Coach Macgyver
10 days ago

Probably heading to Nitro.

Dan
Reply to  Coach Macgyver
10 days ago

Yeah, because that will be sooo much better.

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  Dan
10 days ago

I wouldn’t want to work there, but like it or not, Nitro is a well oiled machine. Yes they have struggled at the National level since Tim Obrien, but below the National level they are exploding.

If swimmers are going to leave because or Roric, they are likely to go to Nitro. Lakeway facility isn’t too far away. He seems like the best fit and a missing piece for Nitro.

Dan
Reply to  Coach Macgyver
10 days ago

I was referring to the coach-owner relationship dynamic at Nitro v. ASC. Neither seems to have a stellar reputation on this issue; but then again disgruntled employees are to be expected even at perfectly healthy clubs.

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  Dan
10 days ago

Understood.

The Real Deal Favorite Swimmer
Reply to  Coach Macgyver
8 days ago

Using this article as a plug for Nitro Swimming? Since you mentioned Nitro, I suspect you know better than most that a great & wise coach coined the phrase “Owner Mike” v “Coach Mike” at Nitro, so you also are very likely aware that many swimmers recently left the Nitro Lakeway facility to move to ASC. From the slowest to the fastest of those that left, close to 100% of them cite a toxic swim culture at Nitro Bee Cave as the reason they left. I doubt they would return to Nitro. Let’s not pile on this article to try to make Nitro seem like a great place to be. What was the Nitro Cedar Park coach turnover rate in… Read more »

VFL
10 days ago

Here for the comments 😳

snarky
10 days ago

Didn’t the last coach leave for the same reason?

oxyswim
Reply to  snarky
10 days ago

It says right there in the article that Brendan Hansen cited similar reasons for leaving.

John
Reply to  snarky
10 days ago

if only there was a relevant paragraph that addressed that like say the 8th paragraph

Stewie
Reply to  John
10 days ago

Snarky ain’t much fer book lernin’

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  snarky
10 days ago

Please enroll in the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good and Who Wanna Learn to Do Other Stuff Good Too.

Exswimmer
Reply to  snarky
9 days ago

Try last 3 coaches

Kachow
10 days ago

Never a good look when all three owners of an organization are the parents and one of their kids. Would love to hear more of this story.

NW Coach
10 days ago

Fellow coaches let’s finally learn the lesson don’t go work for the Thompson’s. They have chased out Nate O, Chris, Brendan, and now Roric. Do your research talk to each other and don’t fall into their trap.

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  NW Coach
10 days ago

Facility needs a learn to swim pool. The cost of the location, outdoors, etc it’s going to be impossible for anyone to get the team rolling, the way it should, without it’s own feeder program.

Erik
Reply to  Coach Macgyver
10 days ago

That isn’t the issue, see the comment you are replying to.

Coach Macgyver
Reply to  Erik
9 days ago

The Thompson’s built the facility and left out a developmental pool. That’s is definitely part of the issue.

VFL
Reply to  NW Coach
10 days ago

Imagining a mass exodus of swimmers isn’t far behind

coco
Reply to  VFL
10 days ago

30 swimmers left so far

Ringo
Reply to  coco
7 days ago

bye

ASC Swammer
Reply to  VFL
10 days ago

In addition to numbers, the caliber of swimmer at ASC was SO much higher during like Brendan’s era. Every time a beloved coach is driven out by Kevin, they lose a bunch of top swimmers.

Tots
Reply to  NW Coach
10 days ago

To name just a few…

Swimmom
Reply to  NW Coach
10 days ago

Is that why Nate O left???

Reddie Eese
10 days ago

Heard about the differing opinions in question from a source close to the owners. Allegedly Mr. Fink enjoyed the occasional ham and cheese sandwich, but his ratio of ham to cheese was 1 slice of ham for four Kraft singles. Owners disagreed with the method and his preparation of those sandwiches within the facilities.

Sad to see this split.

Taa
Reply to  Reddie Eese
10 days ago

I can see the problem. Kraft singles are not even real cheese.

Mac
Reply to  Reddie Eese
10 days ago

Huh? Guess I don’t understand the analogy.

NM Coach
Reply to  Mac
10 days ago

I was thinking the same thing too! Hopefully we’ll get an explanation!

Mac
Reply to  Reddie Eese
10 days ago

I’m still very curious about the ham and cheese!

Reddie Eese
Reply to  Mac
10 days ago

Sorry to confuse you I was just trolling

Tomek
10 days ago

Two high level coaches leaving within 3 years for the same reason? Looks like a pattern to me.

VFL
Reply to  Tomek
10 days ago

Also three on the same day…

Coachy
Reply to  Tomek
10 days ago

Who’s the other “high level coach”? I see a high level coach and a high level athlete turned coach. Make sure we don’t confuse the two.

NW Coach
Reply to  Coachy
10 days ago

I think Brendan’s results while coaching clearly makes him a high level coach at this point. Especially for an age-group club team.

Time For Barta To Go
Reply to  Tomek
10 days ago

Consecutive acrimonious exits, by multiple coaches of multiple experience levels, for the same reason (“difference of opinion”), and now, all three of the key players on the current staff?? Pretty much says it all.

Only someone desperate for work would go there.

Swim parent
Reply to  Tomek
7 days ago

More than two, it’s probably you…

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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