UPDATED: Confirmed Candidates for General Membership Director Board Seat

by USA Team Handball

Next week on Monday, August 22nd, the polls will open to determine the next General Membership Director to serve on the USA Team Handball Board of Directors. For complete details on the voting process, please see this article

The potential candidates are (in alphabetical order)*:

  • Marianne Acker
    • "When I was nine I started to play handball back in my hometown in France. I loved the game so much, I had to find a club every place I went. When I  moved to Boston to get my PhD in Marine Chemistry, I was thrilled to be able to keep playing competitively with Boston Team Handball. And this is how I got to interact widely with our handball community and USATH as a whole.  

      Indeed, by getting involved in US handball as both a player and an administrator, I have interacted widely with our handball community and USATH as a whole. First, as a player of Boston Team Handball women for five years, I went to many tournaments and got to meet great players and people. Second, as a board member of the club I interacted with USATH and worked at developing youth handball by organizing youth clinics and practices. Third, I also became a certified referee for USATH and refereed for both the Northeast League (NHTL) and College Nationals. 

      My job as a marine chemist took me to the other coast as I started my postdoctoral research in San Diego. This is how I began playing beach handball as part of the San Diego Sea Dragons Beach Handball Club (SDBHC). Not only did this round out my handball knowledge, it expanded my circle within the handball community. Thanks to this move from the court to the beach I now feel I am part of the two integral components to USATH. 

      The future of handball in the US depends on the growth from all aspects of the game. As I have been part of the development of handball of both the indoor and beach clubs, as well as on the adult club, college level, and youth level of the game, I believe that all of my experiences will allow me to bring a holistic approach to handball. If I am to be elected I want to push forward new ideas as well as originally contribute to the plan to promote handball for all ages, to make the US a competitive force on the international stage, and expand the community to continue to share the sport we all love."
  • Myles Bacon
    • "I have served the USA Team Handball community for over 20 years as a player, coach, volunteer, and mentor. My affiliation and participation with the Carolina Team Handball club in 1999 has led me to a host of opportunities throughout the sport, including coaching, officiating, and serving as a delegate on local, regional, and international levels. I currently serve on the DEI committee and am an ancillary member of the San Diego Beach club, working to get handball integrated full-time into San Diego and southern Californian schools. This set of experience with our sport, coupled by a common love for the American sports culture in general, can be a supplemental element to the efforts of our entire community. We have a wonderful opportunity for growth and promotion as we lead into 2028 in Los Angeles and I hope to do what I can to support efforts going into and coming out of that Olympiad."

  • Ryan Earle
    • "Hello, I'm Ryan Earle. I got involved with handball a year ago when I joined the University of Pittsburgh's Club Handball Team for my senior year. Although relatively new to the sport, the passion I quickly found cause me to dive deep in right from the beginning. I'd love to serve on the USATH Board of Directors and do my part in growing the game. I want to show people that handball is more than a fun gym class activity; it is a fast-paced, yet tactical game that anyone can enjoy at all levels. Growing the sport in this country will take hard-working and passionate people within USATH helping to expose Americans to the greatest game they've never played: handball."

  • Adam Elzoghby
    • "Since I joined the USA handball family in 2009, my vision was to help develop and grow the sport. I think that with my experience as an ex professional handball player, youth coach and sports management specialist makes me very confident that I can help the USATH grow. 

      My Career as handball player goes back to when I started playing handball in Egypt more than 27 years ago.
      • Played professionally from 2007 until 2021, have been representing USA National team since 2009 until now
      • Represented Egypt Youth/Juniors national teams from 2001 to 2007 (National team captain)
      • Represented Egypt Seniors national team from 2005 to 2008 Played hundreds of international matches as youth/junior/senior with both countries.
      • I've Handball coaching Level 1 from the Egyptian handball federation and started coaching youth since 2020.

        I also have a very solid Sports Management experience, have been working in the field since 200 and was able to help the USA Team handball have their biggest apparel sponsorship deal in 2011."

  • Austin Fischer
    • "My experience with USA Team Handball stems back to my time spent in the Olympic residency program at Auburn University. I was a member of the USATH residency program in 2016 and 2017 before moving on to coach special teams for the University of Minnesota's football program. I had the opportunity to wear the stars and stripes in a handful of games, and I believe in the the potential of USA Team Handball. I strive to see USA Team Handball thrive not only on the international level, but on the club level in each state and territory of the US. I am currently an active member of the Minnesota Team Handball Club. 

      If appointed, it would be my mission to serve the handball community and grow the sport.

      I am currently employed as the Director of Baseball & Softball for RCX Sports managing different properties for Major League Baseball (MLB) and their initiatives to grow the sports of baseball and softball. 

      My professional experiences would positively impact USA Team Handball and lead to the growth and continued development of the USA Team Handball community. My professional experiences would directly impact several key growth factors. I would dedicate my time to increasing memberships on an individual and club basis and increasing opportunities for our players to compete in additional tournaments. I would implement a first of it's kind referee initiative and incentive program to grow the amount of qualified officials for our tournaments. 

      I appreciate your consideration for the position of General Membership Director Board Seat."

  • Aaron Hamm
    • "Five years ago this week, my journey with handball began. This journey, filled with obstacles and peaks, has given me an untold amount of intrinsic joy and peace. I have grown into myself through this sport and the bonds I have formed along the way will no doubt travel with me throughout life. 

      I began playing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and have been blessed to run-out with the national team as well. When deciding what to do post college, I knew that handball would have to play a role, but I did not feel physically and mentally up to signing with a European club to continue my career as a player. However, staying in Chapel Hill for my dental education will provide me the ability to continue coaching our team here. 

      When I arrived, UNC finished 5th among college programs and 5 years on, a pandemic in between, yet we finished as Open National Champions. All in all, I want to provide more and more people the ability to have experiences like my own. Whether this be playing on a national team or simply challenging themselves to take on a new sport with the knowledge that they could fail; I want to continue the upward trajectory that USATH has been on since my entrance into this space. I believe that strengthening the college handball structure will be key to this growth and as a current coach and former player, I have a unique perspective on the strengths and weaknesses, along with many potential ideas for how to improve the space. 

      Thank you for your consideration!"
  • Kevin Hutchison
    • "Some of our newer members probably do not know me but most of our older members likely do. I'm not exactly new to the sport, but I hope to bring a fresh perspective. I had played soccer (and other sports) all my life and walked away from college soccer at West Point to play this sport instead. From 1987-2007, I was immersed in the sport of team handball. I was a player, I co-founded a club (Knight Magic which became Knight Air), I was a coach, a life member, and I was Chair, Coaching & Methods, and a member of the Board of Directors for 4 years. For about 2 decades, most of our family vacations were centered around team handball tournaments. Why did I dedicate so much of my life to team handball? Because I love the sport and I loved seeing my teammates and handball family at tournaments. 
      There was a gap in my involvement in team handball from 2008-2020. During this period, I lived in Belgium & Germany (2006-2011), was deployed overseas (2012-2013), had 4 major surgeries from 2011-2014, retired from the military and adjusted to civilian life/work in 2014, and COVID in 2020. Most importantly, I spent a lot of time from 2006-2018 coaching my kids in youth/MS/HS in the sports They loved.
      Now that our kids are grown and my wife are empty nesters, I started volunteering with handball again. When we were at the women’s NACHC in Illinois last year, my wife remarked that she could see on my face how much I had missed it. She's right; I have truly missed being involved in the sport. I am grateful to be able to volunteer in support of team handball and have enjoyed helping at various events the last 2 years. If you think I am the right person for the role, it would be an honor to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. I am confident that my in-depth experience and knowledge of the sport and its challenges and my professional background will help me contribute to the Board’s efforts to sustain our successes, isolate our shortcomings, and develop ways to close the gap and achieve our vision for the future. 
      I look forward to the opportunity to work as an elected representative of the membership and to improve the participation, quality, and funding of the sport in the US. 
      Thanks for your consideration. A synopsis of my work, education, & handball experience follows. 

      Corporate Strategy & Change Management (2021-present)
      Defense & Aero Program/Product Manager (2014-2021)
      US Army Officer (1990-2014) 
      Doctorate, Business Administration, FIT (ABD, expected 2023)
      AA, Japanese Language & Culture, DLI-FLC (2004)
      MEd, Physical Education/Sports Management, Troy State U (2004) 
      MA, East Asian Studies/International Relations, U of VA (2001)
      BS, Engineering/Spanish & Brazilian Portuguese, USMA (1990)
      Professional Training & Certifications 
      Program/Project Management Certification, Syracuse U (2017)
      Lean Six Sigma Executive Course (2008)
      Family & Hobbies 
      Married 30 yrs to Amanda; 2 kids (Caitlin, 25 & Ryan, 22); 1 dog, 1 grand dog
      Hobbies: Coaching, watching sports, reading, cycling, hiking, & volunteering

      Coaching/Leadership/Volunteering: 1993-2007 & 2021-2022
      Co-founded (with spouse) Knight Magic which became Knight Air in 1993 
      Founded so USMA and ASAFA grads could play after graduation  
      Club grew into Knight Air & Knight Air DOGs (active at tourneys 1993-2009)
      Coached KA to Men’s Inaugural Elite Division Gold Medal, 2002 
      Coaching Exchange, Portuguese National Team, Portugal, 2002
      USOC Coaching and Sports Science: Video Analysis + Sport Performance, 2003
      Chair, Coaching & Methods & BoD USA Team Handball, 2003-2006
      Asst National Team Coach, Pan Am Championships, Chile, 2004
      Scorekeeper/Timekeeper, Women’s NACHC Championship, IL, 2021
      Scorekeeper/Timekeeper, Nationals, Michigan, April 2022
      Team Attaché, USA Men’s Beach Handball, TWG, AL, 2022

      Playing career: 1987-2007
      National Championships participant: 1987-1990; 1993-1999; 2001-2007 (18 years)
      West Point Team Handball Club, 1987-1990 (College gold medalists 1987, 1988, 1990; Silver Medalists 1989; College MVP, 1990 & MVP Runner-up, 1989)
      US National Team & Goodwill Games Team -- 1990
      US Olympic Festival Team Selectee/Participant – 1987/1989, 1991, 1994
      Co-Captain, CISM/World Military Games – 1996-1998 (KOR-GER-ROM)
      Knight Magic/Knight Air/KA DOGs, 1993-2007
      SU Mühlheim (now SG Dietesheim-Mühlheim), Mühlheim, Germany – 1995-1997"
  • Christopher Johnson
    • "I am relatively new to the sport of handball. I was introduced to the sport in 2016 by the Milwaukee United Team Handball club. I played goalie for 2 years and served as co-manager for a 1 year scheduling practices, collecting member fees etc. I have made many great connections along the way and last year I decided I wanted to become more familiar with the sport, so I attended the Referee Level 1 Class. I am a project manager for US Bank in Milwaukee and I find I can translate my interaction with my project teams to the handball court by asking questions, being open to team communication and always willing to learn. I am interested in the board position so I can become more familiar with the sport, make greater connections and make a great referee someday!  :)"

  • Max Littman
    •  "I'm running to create and foster change in this organization. For too long USATH has been non-transparent: where the money goes, who is benefiting, why certain decisions are made. I want to change this by being upfront, transparent, and start re-investing in your teams and clubs. The clubs which are the lifeblood of USATH have been unsupported and left to dry, that will change with me. I have experience in the college, club, and national levels as a player, coach, and administrator, I know how to create change and when to stick up for our players. This is a critical moment for the board in the lead up to 2028 and there is no one better to take my coach and friend, JD Orr's, spot than me." 

  • Kurt Shaffer

  • Ionut Tuma

  • Darryl Yarbrough
    • "I only want what's best for USA Team Handball. When I learned about Team Handball in 2008, I never thought it would have the impact it's had on my life. Thinking back almost 15 years, I still remember my first thought when I saw this game played in the Beijing Olympics: why have I never heard of this sport before? This sport and the community it encompasses have been the treasure of most of my adult life. It's personal to me that this sport grows in the healthiest way possible. The health of our NGB was a mystery to me until 2015, when I was the liaison for USATH with the inaugural World Beach Games that was initially going to be hosted in my hometown of San Diego, CA, in 2017. The gaps in our structure, popularity, and finances were more apparent when comparing our sport to other up and coming sports. We've had some great ideas, and people come into this organization, but our collective ability to execute those ideas has been a challenge, and it has cost us. We are making significant progress at every level of our program right now. We're seeing youth programs train athletes to play at the elite level. Coaches who are more knowledgeable and innovative than ever. Committees and Boards that are upholding accountability and transparency that is strengthening our NGB. We're looking more and more like an NBG ready to be a top-level organization. I've seen this progress intimately as a player, coach, organizer, and committee member building the Beach program. I'm an asset to this program. My time, energy, and resources have been dedicated to the program and will continue to be. I only want what's best for our program, and I know I can contribute to our continued prosperity. 

      2015 - Liaison with the World Beach Games Committee
      2016 - Scouting and Film coordinator for the USA Men's Beach Handball Team 
      2017 - Director of Player Personel 
      2018 - Assistant Coach for USA Women's Beach Handball
      2020- DEI committee"

*This list is still being evaluated for eligibility, so if any candidates fail to provide the required documents or are determined by USATH's Nominating & Governance Committee to not meet the eligibility standards outline in the USATH bylaws, they will be removed from this list no later than Thursday, August 18th.

Each approved candidate will also be able to provide a candidate profile, which will be added to this page no later than Thursday, August 18th.

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