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USOC Had Hand in 7s Coaching Change

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USOC Had Hand in 7s Coaching Change

The US Olympic Committee had a hand in the removal of Matt Hawkins as USA 7s team Head Coach.

The move came after an exhaustive post-season examination of both the men’s and women’s teams. Both were put under the microscope by USA Rugby representatives (including CEO Nigel Melville) and the USOC.

“When the USOC talks about a sport in the Olympics, they don’t talk about qualifying,” Melville told Goff Rugby Report. “They talk about winning a gold medal. We look at the entire program, at the goals for the year and whether we achieved those goals, and whether we did or not, how we can move forward.”

In the end, the lack of consistency in the USA performance, a desire to change the environment within the team, and a desire to address concerns around physical conditioning, forced the change.

The expected addition of Mike Friday gives the USA their first coach experienced in international 7s since Al Caravelli was coach (and Caravelli had not been a head coach on the IRB World Series before he took the USA job). That in itself is likely to change the dynamic within the team. But it’s the addition of Chris Brown as the assistant, with strength and conditioning being one of his strengths, that will perhaps make the most immediate impact.

“We have to look at how we unlock the potential of the players we ave,” said Melville.

The women’s team saw no coaching change, but they were put through the same examination, an examination Head Coach Ric Suggitt said he welcomed.

“I actually think we should have them every three months rather than once a year,” Suggitt told Goff Rugby Report. “It’s not intimidating to me to have these. It’s expected for us to be held accountable. But I think if you have a problem in your team, it needs to be addressed early. We understand the expectations about a medal, and I believe we have 12 players in the United States capable of winning a gold medal; that’s why I came here.”