“Denying knowledge of [REDACTED] and others banging their swimmers! It’s a flat out lie. They knew about it because we (coaches and athletes) were all talking about it in the late 1980′s and early 1990′s. I was told by several of [REDACTED] swimmers in 1988.… I was told [REDACTED] was molesting [REDACTED] for years starting when she was 12 by some of the Texas guys.”
Once again I remind readers of what 1988 and 1992 Olympic medley relay gold medalist David Berkoff said in a 2010 email to Jeff Chida, a swimming parent, shortly after ABC’s 20/20 blew the cover off USA Swimming’s decades-long cover-up of coach sex abuse.
Was Berkoff talking about Rick Curl, now on “provisional suspension” after exposure last month of his molestation of his swimmer Kelley Davies through the early 1980s at the ages o 13, 14, and 15 – followed by Curl’s payment of $150,000 in hush money to the Davies family? Berkoff won’t say. Now USA Swimming’s technical vice president, Berkoff defiantly maintains that the organization takes care of its own because it is “family.” Graham Spanier, the disgraced former president of Penn State, probably believed the same of his institution. So did Don Vito Corleone.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Many, many people in the upper echelons of organized swimming were well aware of what Rick Curl did to Kelley Davies. Their failure to speak up made thousands of other girls vulnerable to similar mistreatment for more than 20 years. (More later on the overwhelming likelihood that there have, indeed, been additional Curl victims.)
Here are three of those top swimming people.
RICHARD QUICK was the women’s swimming coach at the University of Texas when Kelley Davies matriculated there, fresh from being abused while swimming for the Curl-Burke club’s sites around Washington, D.C. In 1988, Davies had an emotional breakdown and was hospitalized with an eating disorder. That fall Quick left Texas to become coach at Stanford. He would coach U.S. Olympic teams from 1984 (Los Angeles) through 2004 (Athens). He died in 2009.
Richard Quick despised Rick Curl, according to multiple sources inside swimming. But more than that, Quick knew of Curl’s abuse of Davies. On several occasions, Quick told the top officials of USA Swimming that he would never allow Curl to be named to his Olympic coaching staff.
Quick was succeeded at Texas by another highly decorated national team and world-class coach, MARK SCHUBERT, who led the women swimmers in Austin for three years. He took over in the fall of 1988, just after Davies was released from the hospital, in August of that year. Multiple sources in Texas make it clear that Davies told Schubert directly about her problems and ascribed them to the fallout of her relationship with Curl.
Schubert has not responded to my request for comment, which was emailed to the address publicly listed by the American Swimming Coaches Association, on whose board of directors he continues to sit.
EDDIE REESE, the long-time and highly successful men’s swimming coach at Texas, as well as two-time head Olympic women’s coach, is also on the ASCA board. During her recovery in Texas, Davies gave testimony at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting and told of her abuse by an unnamed swim coach. Reese was among those present at the meeting. Reese also was consulted by the women’s team coaching staff and other university officials on her decision on whether to retire from swimming.
Reese, like Schubert, has not responded to my request for comment, which was emailed to the address on the published ASCA board list.