Convicted Doper Dennis Mitchell Coaching Team USA Again

by: Weldon Johnson,
May 1, 2015

I’m preparing to depart for tomorrow’s World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, and feel it is worth mentioning that Team USA’s sprint coach will once again be convicted doper Dennis Mitchell. This is the second straight year Mitchell will be coaching Team USA and third time he was selected as a national team coach (the first time he did not coach Team USA after negative publicity arose).

I’m all for rehabilitation in the sport for penitent dopers, but Dennis Mitchell has never publicly come clean about his doping. I’ll repeat what I wrote last year on this:

A convicted doper should never be a national team coach until they truthfully account publicly and before USADA everything about their own doping past, and show a commitment to clean sport.

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Dennis Mitchell has not done that. When first busted for doping in 1998, Mitchell gave the famous “five bottles of beer and sex with his wife at least four times” excuse for having high testosterone.

Last year, I tried to speak with Dennis Mitchell and/or have someone at USATF defend his selection and all I got was silence. I wrote,  “If Dennis Mitchell is best coach to represent the greatest country on the earth at the World Relays, then tell us why. Instead all we get from USATF is silence.”

Last year, I noted that USATF procedures were not followed as the Men’s Track and Field Executive Committee did not select the proposed national team coaches with Board approval. Sources told me that Dennis Mitchell was simply selected by the USATF National Office. I have not made inquiries on how he was selected this year, but from looking at the USATF website, it looks like USATF has tried to remove any pretense of the Executive Committee having any input. The selection page for 2015 USATF staffs says the Executive e will only have input on selecting the assistant coaches for World Relays (even though USATF Regulation 17 says the Executive Committee should have input for all national team coaches).

If the USATF Board wants to know why its membership has little confidence in its decision making abilities despite bringing in record-breaking revenue, giving Dennis Mitchell the privilege of coaching Team USA without an explanation is a perfect example. Yet again, USATF simply does what it wants. One thing is clear in the USATF manual, the USATF Board has “final approval” on national team coaches.

Shame on USATF for selecting Dennis Mitchell as a national team coach without coming clean about his past.

Update: The Head of the Danish Athletics Federation Jakob Larsen has tweeted about this and has two good points:

*Discuss this article here
*For more info, read last year’s article on this



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