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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Ex NC Lurker
1 year ago

And on this episode of As the Flip Turns Austin…

Tune in next week for the season premiere of As the Flip Turns Charlotte!

Yerkidding
1 year ago

Just gonna throw a hot take out there. There is a pattern of coaches leaving so there’s obviously a deeper issue but throwing it all on the owners isn’t very valid imo. Maybe roric wasn’t a good fit

Anonymous
Reply to  Yerkidding
1 year ago

Parent of a former ASC swimmer for over 5 years. My opinion, good for Roric for getting out of a toxic relationship. Took us 5 years to figure out the Thompson’s just care about bottom dollar (even though they will tell you they don’t make a dime off of the team 😒) And just because daddy bought Megan a team doesn’t mean she is qualified to run it! Club was heading downhill but it jumped off a cliff when she started.

Snarky
Reply to  Yerkidding
1 year ago

Kevin Thompson comment?

Yerkidding
Reply to  Snarky
1 year ago

Caught me

Swimming_is_a_passion
1 year ago

To really be successful in this business you have to have a passion for it. If you grew up swimming or swam in college great, but team ownership is really Team Leadership. You can’t lead from afar. You can’t lead from the Board Room or through a Proxy. ACS was known for its small team atmosphere, lots of passionate swimmers and an excellent coaching staff. Locally there are lots of great teams. Long Horn and Nitro are just two. Not advocating for either. Different teams, different styles. Some say Nitro is too big and it’s going to get even bigger with a new pool going in near Kyle. I do know Nitros owner personally and his passion for the sport… Read more »

The Real Deal Favorite Swimmer
Reply to  Swimming_is_a_passion
1 year ago

You guys – not cool to jump in on this article and try to make a sell for Nitro. Owner Mike doesn’t hide he focuses on and misses the TAGS banners.

The Real Deal Favorite Swimmer
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Not all club coaches are unstable IMO.

swimmoming
1 year ago

Strange to me… nobody is talking about the kids devastated and caught in the middle of too much ego and pride on both sides of this story. This got thrown at the kids and they had no idea it was coming. Shame on all of them. The kids are the ones paying the price.

The Real Deal Favorite Swimmer
Reply to  swimmoming
1 year ago

Well said. All the adults all needed to behave like adults.

NM Coach
1 year ago

Would LOVE to see Roric get either the USC or ND job!!!!

Hello
1 year ago

Roric departs ways with Texas after 8 years *no one single negative comment about him.*
Roric leaves Austin Swim Club after 1 year *Kevin Thompson cites it was performance issues*
……..yeah yeah yeah, Kevin we all believe you.

Former ASC Friend
1 year ago

Kevin, if you’re reading this, and I suspect you are, please, please just drop swimming and leave us all alone. Don’t run in making threats, don’t call your lawyers and tell them to go after Roric and Brendan and Chris and swimswam, don’t try to scorched-earth your way out of this.

You’ve been very successful in so many areas of life. Be it their fault or your fault, just let your daughter have the business, and move on. There’s so much good you can do in this world, and it just doesn’t seem like swimming has been a great fit for your multitude of skills and talents. You don’t need this stress in your life. It’s because I care Kevin.

Gus
Reply to  Former ASC Friend
1 year ago

The daughter is now too close and NEEDS to go as well. It is for the best. Sell the team and move on please. These were all good coaches this family ran off.

ASC Swammer
Reply to  Former ASC Friend
1 year ago

lol from talking with some of the many coaches that the Thompsons have driven away, Megan is NOT who you want to run the business

Anonymous
1 year ago

Wanted to provide some insight on the ASC staff changes since it looks like this article is quite popular. I want to make it clear that I’m probably missing lots of things below.

  • Hired Coach Casey Melzer in Jan 2020 to coach Silver 2 and College – Believe he left a bit after covid re-opening, unsure
  • Coach Ivy left in Mar 2020 – Joined a few months before
  • Drylands canceled and pool precautions start due to covid on 3/13/2020
  • ASC is closed due to covid on 3/24/2020
  • Coach Missy(4-year term) and Coach Liz(new hire) leave in Apr 2020 – ASC cites budget restrictions
  • ASC re-opens pool early-mid May
  • ASC re-opens in-person dryland early-mid May – they still do zoom
… Read more »

Tots
Reply to  Anonymous
1 year ago

Your missing the many dryland coaches, and coach Christian a team favorite. Adrian as well.

Swammer
Reply to  Anonymous
1 year ago

I agree this is pretty off and missing lots of details.

Also to be clear, Thompson’s are pretty hands on, they watch the cameras all around the facility and micromanage from afar.

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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