by Irvin Muchnick
Brandon Drawz’s August 2007 arrest in Indianapolis — when he and his live-in girlfriend at the time (and mother of their child) were drinking and arguing on a downtown street in the early morning hours when he was supposed to be supervising a traveling youth swim team at a junior nationals meet — isn’t the only time he got physical.
Numerous sources in Portland, home of the Mt. Hood Swim Club he chaperoned in Indianapolis, say that just two months earlier, in June 2007, Drawz had delivered a cowardly punch behind the back of the head coach there with whom he was in a disagreement.
The coach, Bud Taylor, was 67 years old at the time. Drawz was 35. Reached yesterday by phone, Taylor did not want to be interviewed but readily confirmed the specifics of the anecdote.
Taylor was one of the most beloved coaches in the history of the Portland area, having won five Oregon state championships during a 20-year career at Cottage Grove High School. He also helped found USA Swimming’s Maverick Aquatics. At the time of his violent dispute with Drawz, Taylor was the head coach of the age-group program out of the aquatics center at Mt. Hood Community College.
Drawz, one of Taylor’s assistant coaches, was a charismatic figure who helped build the Mt. Hood team from an original core of barely more than 30 swimmers to a sprawling program involving as many as 300. But before moving to the post of executive director at SwimMAC in North Carolina (where Concussion Inc. broke the story of his dismissal earlier this year), Drawz had been fired at Mt. Hood for misappropriation of funds and conflict of interest. More on this aspect of his shady career as this series of articles continues.
But, first, to the Drawz-Taylor confrontation in ‘07.
Taylor despised Drawz, whom he came to see as a con man. On the pool deck, they got into a verbal altercation during which Drawz, a muscular martial arts enthusiast, lifted Taylor off the ground by his shirt collar.
The two agreed to resume the conversation in a private space, and they walked back the length of the 50-meter pool at Mt. Hood. Taylor thought they were headed to the parking lot, but Drawz instead pulled out a key, opened a door to a maintenance room, and entered.
When Taylor followed, Drawz punched him in the back of the head and locked him in the room.
Later, when Taylor regained his senses and managed to emerge, Drawz was tearfully remorseful and begged Taylor not to report the incident to Mt. Hood authorities or the police. In what Taylor would later concede was a mistake, he agreed to let go of the matter, because he didn’t want the months of extended grief and because Drawz was important in club plans.
Two months later, in what Taylor would concede was an even bigger mistake, he let Drawz supervise the team in Indianapolis while Taylor was tending to his father, who had cancer. Drawz’s girlfriend was not authorized to accompany the group, and Taylor was distraught when several kids phoned home from the Indianapolis meet, some of them in tears, wondering where their coach was on the morning he was arrested for domestic violence, battery with intent to hurt, public intoxication, and resisting arrest. (The criminal charges would be expunged after Drawz completed a diversion program, but Concussion Inc. expects shortly to have in hand the incident report by Indianapolis police.)
Taylor left Mt. Hood the next year, and now sees that his former assistant, who has a trail of allegations of personal misconduct and unethical business practices at numerous stops, is a member of the USA Swimming board and a favorite of USA Swimming boss Chuck Wielgus, and has an eye on Wielgus’s $908,000-a-year job in the future.
BRANDON DRAWZ SERIES TO DATE