USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender, Veronica Carlson and Bruce Baumgartner (Photo/Haley Scherr)
USA Wrestling held its annual Board of Directors meeting on Saturday, August 15 as a virtual meeting. This was the first time USA Wrestling has ever held its Board meeting electronically.
President Bruce Baumgartner presided over the meeting. Baumgartner, AAC Chairperson and Board member Veronica Carlson and USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender were at the USA Wrestling national headquarters overseeing the meeting, while the other members of the Board of Directors as well as guests attended virtually.
Baumgartner was re-elected as president of USA Wrestling, as part of the elections held at the Board of Directors meeting. Baumgartner, as well as the other four officers elected, will serve two-year terms in their position.
The new officers of USA Wrestling are:
President - Bruce Baumgartner of Edinboro, Pa.
First-Vice President - Mark Reiland of Iowa City, Iowa
Second Vice President - Joan Fulp of El Granada, Calif.
Secretary - Kerry McCoy of Palo Alto, Calif.
Treasurer - Van Stokes of Clarksville, Tenn.
Fulp becomes the first woman elected to serve as an officer for USA Wrestling. The other four officers were re-elected to the same positions which they held the previous two years.
Baumgartner reported on his activities and travel over the last year as president as well as his perspective about how USA Wrestling is handling the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. He also reported that he will be re-energizing USA Wrestling's ad-hoc Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and noted the explosive growth of women's wrestling over the last year.
"I believe USA Wrestling is the best National Governing Body in the Olympic movement. It has a good governance structure, active committees and a strong Executive Committee. I want to thank our Board, volunteers and staff for their hard work, especially during these trying times," said Baumgartner.
The results of the other elections which were held as part of the Board of Directors meeting:
At Large Members of the Board of Directors: Jordan Burroughs of Lincoln, Neb., Jim Considine of Carol Stream, Ill., Joan Fulp of El Granada, Calif., Mike Juby of Hutchinson, Kansas, Van Stokes of Clarksville, Tenn. and Greg Strobel of Bethlehem, Pa.
Freestyle Sport Committee: Kerry McCoy of Palo Alto, Calif., Mark Reiland of Iowa City, Iowa and Bryan Snyder of Lincoln, Neb.
Greco-Roman Sport Committee: Jay Antonelli of Annapolis, Md., Nate Engel of Corvallis, Ore. and Herb House of Castle Rock, Colo.
Women's Sport Committee: Tela Bacher of Homer, Alaska, Nate Engel of Corvallis, Ore. and Iris Smith of Colorado Springs, Colo.
Executive Committee (1 elected spot available): Mike Juby of Hutchinson, Kansas
Governance Committee: Nate Engel of Corvallis, Ore., Craig LaMont of Mapleton, Utah and John Stefanowicz of Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Long Range Planning Committee: Rob Cate of Las Vegas, Nev., Heather Lawrence of Athens, Ohio, Mark Reiland of Iowa City, Iowa, Patrick Smith of Lauderdale, Minn. and Van Stokes of Clarksville, Tenn.
President Baumgartner appointed the chairperson for the three Olympic Sport Committees for four-year terms. They were Iris Smith of Colorado Springs, Colo. (Women's Sport Committee), Herb House of Castle Rock, Colo. (Greco-Roman Sport Committee) and Kerry McCoy of Palo Alto, Calif. (Freestyle Sport Committee).
The Board of Directors approved the 2020-21 budget for USA Wrestling, which featured $16,241,428 in revenue and $16,055,128 in expenses, for revenue over expenses of $186,300.
As presented by the Long Range Planning Committee, the Board approved the addition of diversity to the USA Wrestling Value Statement. The approved value, with its description is:
DIVERSITY: Creating a culture that welcomes members of all races, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and ethnicities; embracing equity, inclusion and multicultural awareness that helps to effect lasting, meaningful change.
The Board also approved two additions to its Long Range Plan, as proposed by the Long Range Planning Committee, which will be included in the Organizational Excellence section of the document. They are:
a) Diversity and Inclusion Committee: Create a Diversity and Inclusion Committee to recommend processes and procedures to increase engagement of all USA Wrestling stakeholders,
d) Engagement and Measurement: Ensure that USA Wrestling leaders on the national staff, national board and state affiliations are engaged and accountable for measuring diversity and inclusion goals.
The Junior Olympic Committee (JOWC) presented its report to the Board of Directors, which was approved. Changes that will be implemented for grassroots programs starting in the year ahead include:
• States may bring up to six wrestlers per weight class per style in the 16U and Junior divisions at the 2021 National Championships. In extraordinary cases, a JOWC subcommittee appointed by the JOWC chairperson shall determine if more than six wrestlers is allowed. (This does not affect girls divisions, as there are currently no roster limits)
• The National Kids/Cadet Council will be renamed the Youth Development Council. Moving forward, this Council will develop recommendations for Kids divisions only (14U and below)
• The National Junior Council will now develop recommendations for the Junior and 16U divisions. In the past, it only oversaw the Junior division.
• The Developmental Coach of the Year Awards will now be selected by the National Coaches Council, taking over the responsibility from the National Junior Council. There will be two Developmental Coaches of the Year Awards, one for freestyle and another for Greco-Roman.
USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender presented his report, providing information on what he called "a tale of two seasons," which included the record-setting year which USA Wrestling was having through early March, and then the situation faced by the sport and the organization after the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States. "Little did we know that wrestling would be stopped dead in its tracks," Bender said.
"We survived the challenges of 2013 with the Olympic program. Maybe COVID-19 could become our biggest challenge. We will have to pivot to keep wrestling moving forward. We will survive this. We are ready to start wrestling again," said Bender.
As part of Bender's Executive Director's report, a number of staff members presented updates to the Board of Directors. Associate Executive Director for Programs and Strategy Les Gutches provided a National Teams report. A staff presentation on Major Revenue Generation was made by Director of Sales and Marketing Ryan Johnson, State Services Director Tony Black, Chief of Donor and Alumni Relations Steve Fraser and National Events Director Pete Isais. A report on Safe Sport, as well as USOPC Compliance, was presented by Laura Peeters, USA Wrestling's Safe Sport consultant. Bender reported to the Board that Peeters had agreed to join USA Wrestling full-time in September as its new General Counsel.