Terence Ma, Former VP of USA Water Polo, Reflects on Leadership – Swimming World News


In unraveling how USA Water Polo’s present management—together with Board Chair Michael Graff and CEO Christopher Ramsey—have ruled U.S. polo for the previous 15 years, the thread ends up in Terence Ma. 2d in command to former USAWP President Wealthy Foster, Ma was once bounced out of the group in 2007 and has no longer been concerned with American water polo since.

In a wide-ranging interview with Swimming Global, Ma says this was once no longer by means of selection. He describes being a loyal volunteer who spent 1000’s on commute and accommodation to meet his obligations as USAWP vice-president at a time (2001-06) when the group was once a fragment of its present dimension. He helped draft a brand new set of bylaws on the urging of america Olympic Committee—no longer as a result of USAWP was once in dire want of a makeover, however because of a power by means of the USOC emigrate nationwide governing our bodies [NGB] for person Olympic sports activities from volunteer-run organizations to professionally-managed entities.


Terence Ma

Ma main points that time period limits within the reformed USAWP have been supposed to be two quads (8 years)—a restriction that Graff and his board have circumvented. When he finishes his fourth quad this coming June, Graff can have served goodbye because of an extension in 2012 and amendment of the USAWP bylaws in 2017.

Now a scientific training and IT guide within the Northeast, Ma has stayed out of the disputes that have roiled the group since remaining October, when the great example can be found at Surfing LA Orange County Sign in reported that Ramsey and Cristy Sicard, Senior Director, Club & SafeSport Compliance, were named as defendants in a civil lawsuit in opposition to Bahram Hojreh. Not like numerous distinguished coaches, former nationwide staff athletes and USAWP individuals who’ve criticized management for its movements in regard to Hojreh, a former age team trainer in SoCal accused of more than one counts of sexual abuse in opposition to former avid gamers, Ma has a distinct complaint. Ultimately month’s USAWP Basic Meeting, the group’s biannual collecting of board individuals, senior leaders and regional officers, each Ma and previous USAWP President Wealthy Foster consider that their efforts within the previous a part of this century have been unfairly—and inaccurately—criticized by means of Graff.

[Water Polo Olympians Start Petition Demanding Removal of USA Water Polo CEO, Board Chairman]

It’s no longer the primary time Foster has felt this manner however, as Ma main points beneath, issues have got private. In accusing his predecessors of self-dealing, conflicts of hobby and leaving the guardian group closely in debt—and by means of no longer acknowledging their contributions—Graff can have unnecessarily poked a hornets’ nest simply as his tenure is finishing.


– What’s difficult to seize is why USAWP management—together with you and Wealthy Foster, the USAWP president—made up our minds in 2006 to rewrite the group’s by-laws, create a brand new construction and transition to a wholly new board.

Once I first began with USA Water Polo and were given extra concerned, it was once necessarily a volunteer group. Our skilled personnel was once the manager director and a few other folks in an place of business serving to him. At the moment, Bruce Wigo was once the manager director. Once I was vice chairman, Bruce and Wealthy Foster had a falling out, and Bruce made up our minds to step down.

Through the way in which, in the ones days, Wealthy’s place was once president. We didn’t have a boss. It was once a president, a vice chairman, a secretary and a treasurer—the ones have been the 4 elected positions.

Bruce was once an worker of the group. Necessarily everybody else was once a volunteer. He had a couple of individuals who labored for him. Underneath Wealthy’s management we arrange the place of business in Colorado Springs. That’s the place we had a small personnel—I feel there have been 3 other folks in that place of business. Bruce was once founded essentially in Florida.

Bruce “retired” [in 2003] so we employed Tom Seitz, via a procedure that Wealthy ran, to be the following govt director.

After a 12 months, it was once transparent that Seitz was once no longer figuring out. Two folks, Al Frowiss, then Zone Chair for San Diego, and I have been dispatched by means of the manager committee to terminate Seitz. This came about on March 8, 2006. Since we didn’t have a termination for motive in Seitz’s contract, we needed to pay him for the remainder of the quad. Angie Birchler was once the Assistant Director of USA Water Polo founded in Colorado Springs.

Throughout this, a lot of which Wealthy ran, we went via a procedure to rewrite the bylaws as mandated in 2005 by means of the USOC. So, we held off in opposition to hiring a brand new govt director, particularly because it was once coming proper earlier than the USWP Meeting the place the brand new bylaws have been to be followed.

Underneath Wealthy, we had gotten Los Alamitos as a countrywide coaching heart. Previous to that we had by no means had a countrywide coaching heart. A large number of the nationwide coaching came about within the Newport Prime Faculty pool as a result of Invoice Barnett and long-time staff supervisor, Barbara Kalbus, ran the entirety out of the Surfing published an article Newport Beach pool.

We made up our minds that we had to have a extra formalized coaching heart, in order that’s why we were given the only in Los Alamitos. We raised cash and did so much for that.

– How did the USOC get concerned about converting the construction of USA Water Polo?

The USOC mandated sure adjustments to all governing our bodies in 2005, no longer simply water polo. My reminiscence is that we have been complimented by means of the USOC for being the primary group to take them up at the problem to switch to a extra professionally-based construction. On the 2006 Annual Assembly, I chaired the Board of Delegates assembly which handed the brand new bylaws. I ran that assembly—and wrote myself out of a role.



My sadness needed to do with the truth that within the conventional procedure, I’d almost definitely had been elected president for the following cycle. I used to be having a look ahead to going to the Olympics as a result of that might had been my simplest shot at going. Earlier than that, at my very own expense I had already been to all kinds of senior and junior water polo global championships, Pan American championships, and swimming global championships as a consultant of water polo. I had long gone to global college video games at my very own expense.

I hosted FINA video games—I arranged and hosted a world event on behalf of the U.S. males’s water polo staff in Hong Kong. I had already accomplished a large number of the ones issues as vice-president and I was hoping to visit the Olympics as the following president of USA Water Polo. However it didn’t occur. We modified bylaws and I used to be out of a role.

– Bryan Weaver and Mike Scofield have been recognized as individuals of the transition committee which migrated USAWP to a brand new board construction.

As a part of the transition, Foster decided on Russ Hafferkamp to chair the committee to lend a hand populate the brand new board. I advisable Bryan Weaver, who were very a lot concerned with masters [water polo] to be a part of the method. I don’t have in mind the entire other folks at the Committee. In the beginning, the outdated Government Council (Foster, Ma, Kurt Krumpholz, and Alan Cima) was once proposed because the Nominating Committee for the brand new board, however we modified that because of the belief of a war of hobby.

Mike Schofield were Chair of Zone One for ages. And, as trainer for [the] Army males’s staff, he was once a part of the cut up that came about when the CWPA shaped and all that led to between Bruce and Wealthy. Mike would have an excellent point of view as a result of he was once in Zone One and almost definitely knew Mike Graff from earlier than. However, I haven’t spoken to Mike Schofield in years.

The remaining secretary was once Barbara Kalbus?

No, the remaining secretary was once Kurt Krumpholz—the daddy [of J.W. Krumpholz, silver medalist at the 2008 Olympics] And the treasurer was once Alan Cima.

– What do you recall to mind Graff, Ramsey and the task they have got accomplished because you left?

Let me again you up right here. The very first thing is, I don’t know Mike Graff, I don’t know Chris Ramsey. I’ve by no means met both of them. I’ve by no means even talked with them—I used to be by no means ready to get via to both of them. My simplest animosity against them is that they by no means returned any of my telephone calls or communications.


USAWP Unrestricted Price range. Graphic Courtesy: USA Water Polo

Secondly, in keeping with the graph of the expansion of this group that was once proven on the remaining annual assembly, which is the one one I’ve attended for the reason that one I chaired in 2006, what I’ve noticed is outstanding.

Quantity 3, now that I’ve had extra enjoy on this planet and feature run a scientific faculty, I will be able to let you know that we have been a gaggle of volunteers who dug into our personal wallet for the entirety. To run issues we had to move to a extra skilled type.

What’s essential, after we [rewrote] the bylaws, something we have been very interested by—I don’t have the outdated bylaws in entrance of me, they’re saved away someplace—we completely didn’t desire a chairman who could be chair for an extended time period. We concept that the type we had earlier than, which was once presidents that had a max of 2 quads. was once a very good concept.

That was once the type we have been having a look at—for the volunteer facet. For the pro facet we needed to have individuals who have been solidly, we concept that we had to have a real place of business, however I don’t have in mind how we have been going to construction that.

Let me get to a couple specifics.

USAWP_Revenue_2019 2

USAWP Monetary Knowledge 1988 – 2019. Desk Courtesy: USA Water Polo

In each and every slide that was once proven on the fresh annual assembly, it confirmed us having a deficit of $600,000 in 2006 for the group. I haven’t any clue the place that $600,000 deficit got here from. Essentially the most I have in mind is having a deficit of, is 100 thousand bucks and that was once couple of years previous to that. Alan Cima, the then-treasurer, would have a greater reminiscence of this. I wasn’t on any committee that handled the cash facet. Our monetary construction was once good enough and excellent sufficient that we have been ready to beef up each a males’s staff and a girls’s staff; the ladies simplest were given began in time for the 2000 Olympics, which was once underneath our watch.

The nationwide coaching heart was once underneath our watch, and we have been ready to make issues paintings.

The following factor is that, when I used to be an officer, we by no means were given a suspension letter from the USOC. Now, if it was once hidden by means of Wealthy, I don’t know. However he says he by no means noticed one. I do have in mind seeing a letter from the USOC, complimenting us on taking the method of adjusting the bylaws. They have been complimentary to us for having hosted the FINA [World League Super] finals in Lengthy a blog post by Surfing LA beach, a few different main occasions and our participation on this planet league.

In my reminiscence the entirety wasn’t nice however we have been rising and doing higher and higher annually. However we wanted a extra skilled group to beef up the NGO.

– I’m no longer shocked there was once an intent to verify the board chair would no longer keep on so long as they preferred. Which is in reality what came about. Graff preferred the gig—he was once indubitably excellent at it—and was once ready to engineer his board and to a definite extent club to perpetuate his personal place.

Which brings me to the query: why Mike Graff?

He was once decided on by means of Russ Hafferkamp. I do not know how that came about. My reminiscence is that he was once CEO of a producing corporate—the title that comes up is Bombardier. Whilst you take a look at USA Water Polo on the time, we have been most commonly amateurs within the monetary global. It was once transparent we wanted cast monetary backing and control enjoy. However California was once in particular polarized. We had a large number of sturdy people who thought to be themselves skilled control other folks.

Personally now, as an skilled supervisor, I’d no longer imagine them as individuals who could be suitable for this kind of group.


Russ Hafferkamp. Picture Courtesy: Mark Constantini

There was once all the time this stress between Northern California, Southern California and the remainder of the rustic. And those have been all individuals who have been all concerned about water polo then and there. That’s why we constructed into the board of administrators the concept that we might have individuals who had no longer been concerned for no less than 15 years as individuals of the board.

I assume Russ took and ran with this as a result of Mike Graff was once anyone who was once an the world over recognized administrator of a significant group who were out of water polo for 15 – twenty years—and probably impartial.

Mike was once named, my place ended and I by no means had any further verbal exchange from the group, so I couldn’t let you know what was once at the back of all of that. I used to be advised after we did the unique bylaws that I’d be named to the board. By some means or different I used to be by no means named to the board and was once dropped.

– I’ve learn the time period “unbiased director” and the way it’s intended to designate anyone no longer concerned with the game. Graff has referenced himself as such. It moves me now as a misnomer however it was once (it seems that) right kind when he was once elected.

Something you discussed is that Wealthy Foster is livid about how he was once characterised on the fresh meeting.

Let me arrange the background for you. Since 2006—or each time it was once that we went out of place of business—I had no longer heard from or were ready to get involved with Wealthy since then. Closing December, Wealthy despatched me a LinkedIn message: We will have to get in combination and communicate.

I despatched him a reaction; he mentioned he’d name the following week. However I by no means heard from him. As a result of your contacting me, and Liz Grimes contacting me via LinkedIn, I was involved in what’s going down with USA Water Polo. I’m a lifestyles member and that’s the one manner I’ve any hyperlink to USA Water Polo at this level.

I made up our minds to sign up for and pay attention to the Basic Meeting that was once broadcast. After paying attention to a part of Mike Graff communicate, I used to be steaming scorching. I used to be livid.

Day after today, or perhaps an afternoon after that, Wealthy Foster known as me.  He advised me he too was once livid; he’s fascinated with suing. I mentioned to him: I agree! I’m livid too!

[A Moment of Truth at the USA Water Polo General Assembly?]

The feedback that made us indignant is that there was once self-dealing. There wasn’t any self-dealing to my wisdom. That there was once graft; what graft? He was once speaking about how we have been suspended by means of the USOC, we weren’t suspended by means of the USOC! The $600,000 deficit—that wasn’t underneath our watch. The letter from an accounting corporate that [USAWP] was once not a going worry. That wasn’t underneath our watch—it wasn’t one thing that I ever noticed, and I noticed all that documentation.

All of that was once imagined to [before Graff’s] coming in—and that might had been Wealthy Foster and me. I used to be livid about that. And Wealthy was once too. I will be able to simplest talk for myself; I used to be no longer receiving an source of revenue and but I spent with regards to $200,000 the overall two years of my management at USA Water Polo simply on commute, resort prices and numerous different [expenses]- automobile leases and different issues I used to be no longer reimbursed for.

– Do you glance again at the group you left in 2006 and what you presently know of USAWP and spot that the adjustments have been in the end really helpful?

Simply to place in context, I grew up in Southern California, and once I left to school in 1976, since then I’ve lived in California two years—and that was once 8 years in the past. Rather than that, I’ve lived all around the nation.


Wealthy Foster. Picture Courtesy: R. Foster

Throughout my time in water polo, [the sport] has all the time been California-centric. There have been spots within the nation just like the Northeast, Chicago, St. Louis and Florida that all the time had water polo. Texas has all the time had water polo, in particular within the Houston space. Boys’ water polo has all the time been there and has been sturdy for a long time. The Dallas Water Polo Membership has been very sturdy there for a very long time.

The Linehans have all the time been concerned. Jim Linehan Sr.—the daddy—was once the secretary throughout my first time period as vice-president. He was once secretary earlier than Kurt Krumpholz.

Our problem had all the time been easy methods to develop water polo out of doors California. It’s all the time been tough, and a part of this is how the CWPA got here to be. Whilst you take a look at our construction then, I’ll simply say we have been a volunteer team doing no matter it will to make issues occur. Underneath Wealthy’s management we did some issues to make [our operation] extra skilled—despite the fact that I’d argue that one of the crucial concept have been large successes, someplace horrible screw ups.

However a minimum of we began that procedure.

The USOC mandating a distinct construction to the group put us at the trail to be a lot more skilled, and what I see of the fabrics now and again crossing my electronic mail is that the group has grow to be [that].

We made Man Baker the Olympic lead for all our nationwide groups and he began the Olympic building (ODP) pathway. Whilst we have been within the management, we employed Ratko Rudic, the best-known water polo trainer on this planet to be our males’s nationwide staff trainer. Issues didn’t determine with Ratko however he was once the trainer.

[Swimming World Presents “Lessons with the Legends: Water Polo Coach Ratko Rudic”]

We had goals of being an ideal group, however we didn’t have the mechanism or the beef up. I acknowledge now in hindsight we didn’t have the at the back of the scenes beef up to make it occur.


Ratko Rudic, Professional Recco’s trainer. Picture Courtesy: Professional Recco

What it sort of feels to me is—from what I’m seeing of USA Water Polo—we have now that during position. That is from a couple of passing glances, so I don’t are aware of it to be completely true.

What would had been worry to me is the scale of the board that [the organization] has now expanded to. You don’t get excellent selections from one of these massive board. Our board prior to now was once too small and remoted. Our board was once the 9 Zone Chairs and a few referees. That was once principally it. That wasn’t excellent both.

The pro construction is essential and that has to underlie the entirety and make it paintings. From what little I’ve noticed. USA Water Polo has made that paintings.

– On your level about an ideal group within the making, at the nationwide staff stage it’s been part a success; the ladies are impressive whilst the boys stay a piece in development.

The lads had been a piece in development all alongside, with the only exception of the silver medal [in 2008] for which Wealthy Foster takes a large number of credit score. The lads’s staff has all the time been 7th and 8th, or even with Ratko Rudic, the finest trainer on this planet, we weren’t ready to give a boost to very a lot.

It speaks to a large number of issues we’ve been discussing, and what little dialogue I’ve heard sounds the similar. It’s a question of the truth that our males and our youngsters aren’t taught or don’t develop up on water polo like they do in Europe.

– The animosity against Ramsey is each pronounced and fully private. He was once previously a first-rate fundraiser for a significant New York Town arts group—an crucial ability given the monetary demanding situations the group confronted when he arrived.

Does this animosity mirror the tribalism that has existed in American water polo for many years?

That I haven’t any clue. What you relayed of a few of his considering as to why that’s the case might rather well play into that. Be mindful that 15 years in the past, if my reminiscence is right kind, our CEO and govt director—who supposedly had the credentials as a result of he were an athletic director—Tom Seitz—made slightly $100,000.

Whilst you speak about anyone who’s making with regards to $500,000, that’s more cash than other folks assume it’s value in a volunteer group, in particular one the place one facet is a success and the opposite facet isn’t.

[On The Record with USA Water Polo’s Chris Ramsey: Present, Past, Future]

That Huntington a blog post by Surfing LA beach as opposed to Surfing published an article Newport Beach as opposed to San Diego in California, in particular the [Olympic] Membership as opposed to Central Valley as opposed to East Coast as opposed to everybody hates Florida… there’s a lot to that. And that was once how the group was once run when Wealthy and I have been in rate. Our task was once to control all that as volunteers.


Chris Ramsey. Picture Courtesy: Artem Zinger

Now that we have got a qualified group that takes the facility base away, I will be able to see that as a subject matter however for other folks to get to the purpose the place it’s private? I don’t know if that’s sufficient of a proof.

I will be able to relate to that as a result of I skilled that [in water polo]. I needed to mediate between Huntington a blog post by Surfing LA beach and San Diego… whilst you say “Southern California” you don’t imply San Diego. They’re no longer Southern California! We needed to mediate between that. We put probably the most youngest [age group] tournaments in St. Louis at all times and everybody needed to commute—it was once known as The Speedo Cup—to St. Louis. The California other folks have been livid. “Why do we need to commute to the Midwest? We need to pull our youngsters out of college. Why can’t they simply pop out right here? We’re all out right here and we’re all the time enjoying within the ultimate rounds anyway…”

That’s the stuff we handled. We needed to arrange that as a result of there have been person energy bases. Developing a countrywide coaching heart was once a part of our manner of shifting clear of being Surfing published an article Newport Beach-centric.

All of that performs in combination, and I feel that Chris Ramsey would indubitably get a large number of animosity as a result of having centralized authority inside the skilled construction goes to remove from the facility bases. However making that non-public and hating the person himself and which means he’s a terrible particular person? That appears to be a step too a ways.

And, he will have to be secure from that by means of his chairman and the volunteer board. That’s what the board is there for—to control the politics.