FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida, November 18. THE International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) today announced the retirement of its President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Samuel James Freas, after 15 years of service.
Dr. Freas has been the most successful fundraiser in ISHOF history and is credited with making ISHOF well known throughout the aquatic world. A charismatic showman and speaker, he has traveled the world for ISHOF expounding the merits of aquatics. He has received awards from every domain in aquatic sports and will be missed.
In recent months, however, Dr. Freas has been under fire by critics, including some two dozen Hall of Fame inductees, who have demanded his resignation.
“Sam is a unique person who has the ability to make people from all over the world feel comfortable and important,” said John Ebert, Chairman of the ISHOF Board.
“Even though I consider it unfair asking Sam to retire, we can now, with the leadership changes in Fort Lauderdale, have an opportunity to establish new relationships in both Daytona and Fort Lauderdale,” said ISHOF Board Member Trevor Tiffany of Ottawa, Canada.
John Leonard, Executive Director of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), praised Dr. Freas' decision to step down and lauded his coaching skills: "I think it is very wise and honorable of Sam to resign and allow the Hall of Fame to get on with its future. Sam is a great showman and an even better swimming coach, and I am sure the whole swimming community will watch any team he coaches with great interest, excitement and best wishes for success. He's a fine coach and the athletes he coaches excel on the biggest stages."
In acknowledging his retirement, Dr. Freas commented: “It’s been a pleasure to work in such a great city and for such a wonderful organization as ISHOF. I will surely miss it. Bob Duenkel and Laurie Marchwinski will provide great leadership until a successor is identified.”