This past weekend, Mark Schubert got inducted into another hall of fame. The International Swim Coaches Association (ISCA). ISCA is ostensibly an organization that exists to provide an alternative to the American Swim Coaches Association (ASCA). I've already made my feelings about ASCA known. Unfortunately, ISCA seems headed down a similar path.
Mark Schubert is a great test case for where we are culturally as coaches. The argument that he belongs in the hall of fame is based on results of swimmers that he has coached. Three NCAA titles, multiple world record breaking swims, a lot of Olympic medalists. That argument is easy, if that were the only criteria.
And maybe it is, because when you get to the rest of Mark Schubert's record, things get pretty bad. Schubert manipulated Dagny Knutson out of a college scholarship and effectively ended the career of one of the biggest phenoms of her era through his own avarice.
After Knutson followed Schubert's false promises to Fullerton, CA, Schubert leaked rumors of the coach of that team, Sean Hutchison, having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a swimmer. He then hired a Private Investigator with Bill Jewell, who would later be sanctioned by USA Swimming for violating their code of conduct, to follow Hutchison.
His actions led to the complete dismantling of the "Center of Excellence" in Fullerton, leaving swimmers to pick up the pieces. It wasn't the first time Schubert had wielded rumors of sexual abuse to his own benefit. When Rick Curl finally got justice, Schubert tried to represent himself as someone who did the right thing, if somehow telling Chuck Wielgus was all he could do.
Remember that Schubert was not some anonymous member of the rumor mill in the Curl case- he had been informed first hand by Curl's victim, Kelley Davies Currin.
Over in the sport swimming loves to look down its nose at, football, former Baylor coach Art Briles is so toxic that no one dare touch him. In swimming, Mark Schubert gets a hero's welcome at his old club, Mission Viejo. And an organization like ISCA, with the knowledge of all the above, deems him fit for the hall of fame.
I've heard a lot of people argue that character shouldn't be considered for a Hall of Fame. There are plenty of baseball players in Cooperstown that were terrible people (Ty Cobb comes to mind). But I think a coaching hall of fame is definitely different. Coaches should be held to a higher standard. We should be examples and mentors and principled first, then we can consider results.
Don't we have it all backwards?