by Irvin Muchnick
Thursday was, as they say, a good day’s work.
First, USA Swimming’s director of Safe Sport, Susan Woessner, resigned while admitting that she “engaged in kissing on a single occasion” with a coach, Sean Hutchison, now accused of long-term grooming and abuse of his swimmer Ariana Kukors. Woessner had been part of the team that investigated the Hutchison-Kukors relationship in 2010-11, in the process wrestling it to a time-limit draw — Hutchison was “exonerated” of Code of Conduct violations but decided to resign as director of the Fullerton training center anyway.
In a Monday email to USA Swimming’s rookie CEO, Tim Hinchey, Kukors’ lawyer Bob Allard demanded the dismissal of both Woessner and Pat Hogan, the organization’s long-time director of club development. Later on Thursday, Hogan quit, too, though rather opaquely.
Hogan’s resignation letter, like Woessner’s, is published — see https://cdn.swimswam.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/dadacfa4-5f68-4bd1-bd0d-2a45b904144f-resignation-statement.pdf. But unlike Woessner, Hogan offers few words and not even a parsed explanation.
There are figures in swimming who are accused of abuse and there are those who are accused of cover-up of same. Pat Hogan was a dual threat.
Hogan’s first wife was his teen swimmer on the club he was coaching in Atlanta; he married her at 18 but had begun dating her earlier. Asked about this by the New York Times in 2010, Hogan offered up the kind of explanation later and perhaps less smoothly packaged by Judge Roy Moore, the failed Senate candidate in Alabama. See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/21/sports/21swimming.html.
In addition, in 1983, a traumatized swimmer being supervised by Coach Hogan mysteriously scratched her events at the Junior Nationals meet in Indianapolis, following an encounter with him the night before that remains controversial and murky.
Hogan’s masterpiece, however, remains the story of Everett Uchiyama, the national team director who was secretly separated from and banned by USA Swimming in 2006. Connoisseurs of the art of the cover-up say they will be writing up this case study in textbooks for decades to come. It is said that Willie Sutton robbed banks because that’s where the money was. Hogan seems to have risen in swimming administration because that’s where the most slippery half-truths thrived.
With Uchiyama, the key is that his scenario unfolded four years before USA Swimming began publishing a banned list. That would come about in the backlash following two televised investigations of the organization’s systematic abuse problem — during which Chuck Wielgus, the CEO from 1997 until his death last year, acquitted himself abysmally.
Wielgus thus had been able to conceal, even from his own board of directors, the reason for Uchiyama’s resignation: allegations that he had molested an underage girl at a prior coaching stop. The termination agreement was confidential. And Uchiyama set out in search of the next adventure on his journey for gainful employment and career fulfillment. He found it as the aquatics director of the Country Club of Colorado.
According to Google Maps, the club’s location in Colorado Springs is an efficient 5.5 miles south of U.S. Swimming headquarters at 1 Olympic Plaza. Indeed, the Country Club of Colorado was a favored site for USA Swimming board meetings; witnesses who have been inside the facility told me that you could peer out over the pool Uchiyama directed through the windows of the club business center and conference room.
When he applied for the job, the Country Club asked for references who could be interviewed about his background and character. Uchiyama named Hogan. The interview form, later produced in a civil lawsuit by a swimming abuse victim, showed that Hogan said Uchiyama’s attendance on his prior job had been “acceptable.” So were his “dependability,” “initiative,” and “ability to get along.” Why did Uchiyama leave? “Personal choice” was how the interviewer recorded Hogan’s answer.
Anything else? Yes, Pat Hogan is recorded replying — Everett Uchiyama was a “great people person.”