April 15, 2011 - Lexington, KY - The Eventing Eligible Athlete Committee and Eventing High Performance Committee have unanimously recommended David O'Connor to be the Eventing Chef d'Equipe/Technical Advisor to succeed Capt. Mark Phillips in 2013. The recommendation will go to the USEF High Performance Working Group before being presented to the USEF Executive Committee.
The search for Capt. Phillips replacement began in 2010. Nine applications were received by the Search Committee. The Committee shortlisted two applicants: O'Connor and Leslie Law.
The USEF hosted an Open Rider Forum at the Red Hills Horse Trials on March 13 where both O'Connor and Law made presentations and answered questions from the floor. The Search Committee then confirmed their recommendation of both O'Connor and Law to the Eventing Eligible Athlete Committee and the Eventing High Performance Committee.
After the forum at Red Hills, the Eventing Eligible Athlete Committee met three additional times to review all eligible applicants and decided to conduct another round of interviews. They met with the two shortlisted candidates (O'Connor and Law) again at the Fork Horse Trials on April 7 and held a telephone interview with British-based Australian Andrew Hoy.
The depth of quality of the applicant field was impressive - it included some of the biggest legends in the sport and after extensive research, thorough discussions and candid interviews the Eventing Eligible Athlete Committee unanimously voted to recommend O'Connor. On April 15, the Eventing High Performance Committee voted to unanimously to endorse this recommendation. The High Performance Working Group and the Executive Committee will meet to review this recommendation.
O'Connor has extensive knowledge of the sport in the U.S. and across the globe. He was the Individual Eventing Gold Medalist at the Sydney Olympic Games and he coached the Canadian Eventing Team to Team Silver at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. O'Connor has proven leadership skills having served as the President of the USEF and the Chairman of FEI Group IV since his retirement from International competition in 2004. On the field of play he is renowned for producing top results from both horses and riders.
Identifying a Chef D'Equipe/Technical Advisor now will allow for a smooth transition for the riders and the eventing program when Phillips retires in 2012. Phillips has successfully led the program since 1994, having won medals at four Pan American Games, four World Equestrian Games and four Olympic Games.