Figure skating coach resigns, faults administration

The Valley News reports that the head coach of Dartmouth’s “five-time national champion figure skating team has resigned after a disagreement with the college about the program’s position in the athletic hierarchy.”

VALLEY NEWS
8/27/2008
Figure Skating Coach Quits Dartmouth Team
By: Tony Lane
Valley News Staff Writer

Hanover — The head coach of Dartmouth’s five-time national champion
figure skating team has resigned after a disagreement with the college
about the program’s position in the athletic hierarchy.

Loren McGean, a Dartmouth Class of 1992 member who began co-coaching
the club with her father, Michael (Class of 1949), in 2002, submitted a
letter of resignation to several Dartmouth administrators, including
President Jim Wright, last week.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Valley News,
McGean cited the need on her part for more “financial transparency” in
the use of funds that were donated specifically for Big Green figure
skating.

In spring 2007, Dartmouth announced the creation of the J. Michael
McGean Endowment Fund, the club’s first permanent source of funding, to
support the figure skating team’s $80,000 budget.

McGean also wanted another athletic category established between
varsity and club to accommodate current club teams (of which figure
skating is one) that compete on a national level.

“To date these requests have all been either ignored or denied,”
McGean wrote in the letter, “and the College has refused to consider a
reasonable solution or an acceptable working environment to fully
support the Dartmouth Figure Skating Team, a recognized, legitimate
intercollegiate athletic program.

“I regret that under these circumstances and in the absence of these
needs being met, I am unable to continue my work as Head Coach of the
Dartmouth Figure Skating Team.”

McGean confirmed yesterday she was resigning and offered no further
comment. There was no immediate word on a coaching successor.
Dartmouth athletics director Josie Harper regretted that McGean
decided to decline a reappointment contract.

“We really value everything Loren and her father did to take the
club where it is today,” Harper said yesterday. “The program has always
been very important to us.”

In addressing McGean’s concerns about financial oversight, Harper
said: “All the club teams have the same opportunity to raise funds.
Figure skating wasn’t any different. We feel we supported them fully,
and we certainly have no intention of cutting that support.”

As for the creation of a competitive level between varsity and club
sports, Harper said the college simply didn’t have the structure to
adopt it.

“We recognize that some club sports can compete at the highest
level,” Harper noted. “Rugby works within our structure.”
The figure skating club was founded by former student Amy Stetson —
with the help of Michael McGean — during the 1996-97 school year.
Dartmouth has been undefeated in competition since the fall of 2003 and
has won the U.S. National Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team
Championships every year since 2004.

Daniel Dittrick, a club skater and co-captain who graduated last
June, was a member of the Club Sports Commission of the Student Assembly
that issued a report in the spring of 2006, urging Dartmouth to increase
facility and financial support for club teams.

Reached Monday by phone, Dittrick refrained from speaking of
McGean’s resignation, but said the college had responded to some of the
commission’s recommendations.

“There has been a lot of changes — the recognition of a couple more
sports like women’s lacrosse,” Dittrick said. “There’s also a full-time
administrator in Joann Brislin that works with club teams.”