Obviously the big news as of yesterday is that the race for the next American coach has been narrowed down to David O’Connor and Leslie Law. Both of these guys are Olympic champions and terrific coaches and either of them would definitely make an excellent coach for the American team.
What I must get off my chest is that I’m absolutely flabbergasted that the proposal presented by Phillip and Bobby failed to even make the second round of the selection process without consideration.
I’ve had extensive coaching and training from Phillip over the last three years and this guy has turned me into the successful rider that I am today. He’s shared with me his philosophies, training methods and personal intuition and turned me into one of America’s leading riders. In my heart of hearts I truly believe that if Phillip could get this job as the US coach, he could do the same thing that he’s done for me for a huge number of riders dreaming of representing the United States in eventing competition.
Before the final interview with the search committee I was privileged to spend an evening with a few friends of Phillip and Bobby as they had a practice run, going through their proposal, before meeting with the selection committee. Their ideas for attracting owners and sponsors to the sport and improving America’s performance on the world stage are breathtaking. I was so impressed with their thoughts and ideas for the next generation of riders, I left the proposal preview assured that the search committee would at least extend their ideas to the final round.
To me, as one of American eventing’s representatives, I think it’s an absolute disgrace that the opportunity for the riders’ voices and the riders’ opinions, on hearing out the proposal, has been squashed before it even made it to the table. From the way I see it, the search committee did not take into account the proposals made by the applicants; from an outsider looking in, they had their minds made up before the phone call was even made. Phillip and Bobby’s proposal was exceptional and that their ideas were not made public to the Active Athletes Committee is a disgrace. These are the people who will ultimately be influenced by the chosen coach, and I feel that the selection of our coach has been taken away from the riders.
Make no mistake, I think either David or Leslie would make a great coach and would have my full support, whoever is chosen. The disappointing part to me is that the members of the Active Athletes’ Committee will not even have an opportunity to look at Phillip and Bobby’s plan and to me that is outrageous.