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The next big step is for current Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan to submit his 2011 and Rugby World Cup report. This will be reviewed by USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville, and then by the USA Rugby Board, which meets November 7.
At the same time, Melville will be submitting a budget for High Performance that quite possibly includes a re-working of the current national team coach salary structure – which concentrates most of the expenditures at the 15 Men’s National Team level.
It’s apparent to everyone within the game, including the Eagle players, that the salary dichotomy is unworkable going forward. Some players have confessed to feeling frustrated at seeing teams such as the Junior All Americans or the Women’s National Team not being able to afford travel or assembly time while large chunks of money are going to the Men’s Eagles coaching pay.
Still, questions remain as to whether O’Sullivan wants to return as coach. If he does (and he has always spoken about American rugby in the long-term), he will be in a difficult position with his report. Part of his job has been to develop his successor, and in his 2011 report, he will be asked to evaluate his coaches, including those who are likely candidates for the Eagles job.
The Board remains a wild card in all this. They could well decide to look overseas for another coach, stick with O’Sullivan, or go domestic. RUGBYMag.com has asked Kevin Roberts which way the Board is leaning, and he did not wish to comment.
Melville, in an interview with RUGBYMag.com last week, seemed to indicate a softening of attitudes toward O’Sullivan. Wins might not have been there, said Melville, but progress had been made, and the question was, do you retain continuity or chuck all that out and start again.
Or, said Melville, is there a middle ground?