SANTA BARBARA, Calif., June 23. COACH Ira Klein, longtime coach of the Santa Barbara Swim Club, has accepted the newly-created position of Director of Field Services for USA Swimming, SwimInfo has learned. Klein, 51, will take on his new duties on September 1.
As Director of Field Services, Klein will take the lead in field services development, expanding the services that USA Swimming provides for its clubs; oversee the zone coordinators; and will be responsible for sport development for the Eastern zone.
Field Services is one of three departments that form the division of Club development, headed by Pat Hogan. The other two departments are Facilities Development and Programs and Services.
Hogan, former head coach of the Mecklenburg Swim Club, was enthusiastic about having Klein join his administrative team in Colorado Springs:
“Ira is a 30-year club coach with experience at every imaginable level, from YMCAs to elite-level teams, and from parent-run clubs to privately-run, coach-owned organizations.
“He is in touch with what’s happening at the club level and brings a wealth of experience to his new job.”
Klein commented: “Yes, I’ll definitely miss being on the deck; after all, I’ve been coaching for 30 years. But this challenging new position gives me a chance to do a lot for American swimming, and I look forward to working with people like Pat Hogan, and Mike Unger. Beyond that, after doing the same thing for 30 years, I like the challenge of doing something different.”
Over the years, Klein has developed a host of world-class swimmers including Trip Schwenk, Chris Lenahan, Mark Warkentin and Adrienne Binder. He also coached such greats as Mel Stewart.
Klein said the hardest part of his decision was leaving the Santa Barbara Swim Club: “This is the best, the most supportive group I’ve ever worked with,” he said. ”They have been incredibly appreciative of my efforts – I get thanked by 30 people every day.”
Hogan predicted, “With his combination of experience, Ira will be terrific in his new role. He has always been vitally concerned with the best interest of USA Swimming and USA Swimming clubs. He’s the kind of guy who always asks the tough questions. And that’s just what we need.”