The AP is reporting that the recommendation of Everett Uchiyama, the former USA National Team Director from 2002-2006, has finally been tracked down. Uchiyama was the highest profile name on the recently release USA Swimming list of 46 coaches who had been permanantly banned from coaching within the organization. The real kicker in the case came when it was reported that even after being banned for alleged sexual misconduct with a swimmer, USA-Swimming wrote him a glowing letter of recommendation for his position as Aquatics Director at the Country Club of Colorado.
Uchiyama was employed there until shortly after the list was released, with the Country Club stating that they had no knowledge of Uchiyama’s history.
After several weeks of back-and-forths, with different officials within USA-Swimming claiming to have no knowledge of the letter, the Associated Press has finally been able to track down the letter. The man who wrote it was Pat Hogan, the managing director of club development for USA-Swimming.
Among the information that was passed from Hogan to the Country Club of Colorado was:
_ Dependability: “Yes, more than was required.”
_ Ability to get along with others: “Fantastic. Most popular employee in (organization).”
_ Initiative: “Outstanding.”
It was also noted by Mr. Hogan that Uchiyama resigned for “personal choice,” that he was not Uchiyama’s supervisor, and that he would rehire Uchiyama at USA-Swimming if given the chance.
These sort of glowing reviews are not out of the ordinary for letters of recommendations under normal circumstances, but it’s unfathomable how somebody could drop the ball by saying they would rehire someone who had been permanently banned from the organization.
Obviously, the lawyer in one of the many cases currently being filed against USA-Swimming alleging coverup of sexual abuse cases, Robert Allard, siezed on the opportunity to take a shot at the governing body.
“I’ve always believed that USA Swimming was inept,” Allard said. “But it wasn’t until yesterday, when I deposed Mr. Hogan, that I became convinced this organization is corrupt to its leadership core.”
While statements taken by a plaintiff’s attorney in the case must be taken in context, Allard is not alone in his sentiment. The alleged coverups, followed by this latest embarrassment, has reaffirmed the belief by many that USA-Swimming’s top organization is nothing but an “old boys” club.