A “bomb” went off this morning, when the rowing world learned that Rowing Canada has sacked its Head Coach Mike Spracklen. The three-time Canadian Olympic medallist Silken Laumann credited the British-born coach for having a hand in her success though the years. After the Canadian’s men’s silver medal in London she called him the “greatest rowing coach in the world” on her blog.
In a press release on Rowing Canada’s website today, it says:
Rowing Canada Aviron (RCA) today announced that it has initiated changes that will make its high performance coaching structure more streamlined and effective leading up to the next Olympics and beyond. Rowing Canada Aviron advertised several high-performance leadership positions last spring, and has begun to fill the roles.
At the London (Ontario) Training Centre, John Keogh will assume the role of Performance Director – Women. Keogh coached the Canadian women’s eight to a silver medal in London and before that worked in the British rowing system – in development and senior levels. Al Morrow, a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and a multiple Olympic medal-winning coach, will take over the lightweight men’s program, now to be based in Ontario.
Victoria-based Mike Spracklen will no longer be part of Rowing Canada Aviron’s coaching team. “We thank Mike for his tremendous contributions to Canadian rowing, and we know he will be missed by many of the athletes he has worked with,” said RCA’s high-performance director, Peter Cookson. “Mike has left a significant legacy and we respect and celebrate his many achievements.”
Originally from Great Britain, Spracklen led the Canadian men’s eight to wins at the 1992 and 2008 Olympic Games as well as a recent silver medal at the London 2012 Games.
The performance director of the heavyweight men’s program, based in Victoria, B.C., and other appointments, will be announced at a later date. RCA is extremely proud of the two silver medals won at the recent Olympics, and is now focused on moving forward and building the program to deliver a greater number of podium performances in 2016.
“Our goal is to look to the future and put as many crews on the podium as possible,” said Cookson. “Two medals (in London) does not meet our expectations – we are driven to improve on this, and I have every confidence that our new coaching and training centre structure will give our athletes what they need to reach their medal potential.”
“It’s obviously very disappointing but I’ve been expecting it for a long time,” said the 74-year-old Spracklen, in an interview with The Colonist newspaper. He continued, “They [Rowing Canada] have been kind of niggling at me for a long time. I’ve felt insecure in this position for several years. But it’s not the end of the world. I will definitely stay in coaching. I’ve got something to offer somebody somewhere. I’ve got a few more years left in coaching and I want to use them in a place where they want me. I will rest for a few days and decide what to do.”
Although, this is sad news, indeed, HTBS don’t think that Spracklen has to be unemployed for that long…