Will U.S. Volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon, who led the men’s team to gold in 2008 after father-in-law was attacked on the Beijing streets and killed, guide the women’s team to its first gold?
(Photo by Getty Images)
By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports
Just after the U.S. men’s volleyball team upended top-seed Brazil in 2008 for the gold medal, winning coach Hugh McCutcheon buried his head in his hands and cried. They were not tears of joy.
For McCutcheon, the Olympics was tinged with tragedy. Two weeks earlier, his wife Elisabeth and in-laws were sightseeing at a popular Beijing tourist spot when a knife-wielding Chinese man inexplicably attacked them. Todd Bachman was fatally stabbed and Barbara Bachman was seriously injured. The killer leapt to his death, taking whatever motive there was with him.
McCutcheon, who rejoined his team after missing the first few games to grieve with family, is back in a new role: women’s coach. He had expressed interest in the gig prior to the ’08 Games, and the volleyball federation extended an offer when the job opened.
He finds himself with a rare opportunity for a gender double. The U.S.. coming off of a silver in Beijing, brings in a No. 1 world ranking, ahead of Brazil. This time, any weeping hopefully will be triggered by happiness.