Why Would They Want to Bring Up Will Colebank? (1 – The Lies of Chuck Wielgus and USA Swimming)

Published May 30th, 2014, Uncategorized

by Irvin Muchnick

 

Late yesterday, as soon as Chuck Wielgus — or, excuse me, as soon as the USA Swimming board presidents who worked with CEO Chuck Wielgus — published their defense brief to the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Concussion Inc. started combing it. This is an altogether absurd document, surpassed in its mendacity, perhaps, only by its self-serving sentimentality.

One of the Wielgus themes is a standard rhetorical trope when the unaccountable feign accountability: the argument that hindsight is 20/20 (maybe we should say “ABC’s 20/20”), and the poor beleaguered $908,432-a-year oaf now would like the opportunity to speak from his “heart.”

He also wants lots of shots at what the brief calls “a do-over.”

Today, before President Obama booted Eric Shinseki, the secretary of veterans’ affairs, Shinseki tried to save his job by announcing that there would be “no performance bonuses” this year … absolutely none, mind you! … for any of the executives at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, where medical appointment records were falsified and veterans were blown off from scheduling urgent, sometimes life-and-death, doctors’ visits and procedures.

In vain, Shinseki offered up suspension of performance bonuses for criminally negligent performers. Now comes Wielgus, offering up a plea for do-overs.

Nowhere is this gambit more curious than in the following passage of USA Swimming’s defense:

 

“Will Colebank: In 1998, USA Swimming terminated its club development director, Will Colebank, for improper communications with a male athlete and having pornographic images on his USA Swimming computer. USA Swimming followed the law and was not a mandatory reporter under Colorado law. However if faced with similar circumstances today, USA Swimming would handle this differently and report the conduct to law enforcement.”

 

Thanks a bunch, Chuck! But why did you mention Colebank in the first place? He is nowhere to be found in the sex abuse victims’ six-page j’accuse arguing for cancellation of the Wielgus Hall of Fame induction next month.

As it turns out, however, Colebank has appeared quite a bit in the pages of Concussion Inc. In the ’98 incident to which Wielgus and cronies refer, Colebank was emailing a young male swimmer in Florida, believed to be 12 years old, from his computer at USA Swimming headquarters in Colorado Springs. Colebank had met the boy at a USA Swimming camp. While Wielgus and his lawyers looked for ways to avoid announcing Colebank’s termination and the reason for it (rather than, say, protect anyone else inside or outside swimming who might have the misfortune of coming in future contact with him), he was gaining new employment as a teacher at the Carmel Middle School in the very same town. In 2007 Colebank’s wife and son would turn him in for sex offenses against children. See http://concussioninc.net/?p=6109 and http://concussioninc.net/?p=6122.

But it’s not just the reinforcement of Wielgus’s guilt that makes the Colebank matter such an odd thing for Wielgus to be proactively bringing up and acting as though he can explain away. Colebank was USA Swimming’s club development director. His successor in that role would be Pat Hogan, whose record in coaching had already established him as a kind of Mitch Ivey-lite in the rogues’ gallery of sexual predators. And once ensconced at Olympic command-and-control, Hogan would exhibit his seriousness about protecting youth athletes by giving a job reference to Everett Uchiyama — who in 2006 secretly resigned when a girl swimmer he had molested in California came forward.

“Great people person,” Hogan cheerfully informed the human resources department of the virtually-next-door Country Club of Colorado. There, within months, Uchiyama made a meteoric rise from “desk attendant” — someone who presumably checked ID’s and gathered dirty towels — to aquatics director. Looking down through the windows of the country club conference room where he conducted numerous quarterly USA Swimming board meetings, Chuck Wielgus could see the pool Uchiyama now ran. More on this shortly.

 

Complete headline links to our coverage of the Women’s Sports Foundation petition to the International Swimming Hall of Fame are at the bottom of the post “Chuck Wielgus Belongs in the Hall of Justice, Not the Hall of Fame,” http://concussioninc.net/?p=9174.