Explaining My Departure From TI

An open letter from Coach Mat to his coach colleagues, students and audience.
September 26, 2019

Coach Mat has composed this open letter to give the news that he has decided to withdraw from his association with Total Immersion, Inc. and offer the explanation behind it. This may not satisfy all your questions or curiosity, so you are welcome to send him an email and you can chat with him about it further.

Background

When I applied for TI Coach training in the summer of 2010, I was surprised to have Coach Terry personally contact me to share his delight in my application, in my strong example of TI swimming and practice, in my qualifications as an experienced teacher, and he noticed that I was in a strategic location in Turkey for setting up a coaching practice. He expressed his desire to support my pursuit of TI Coaching in any way he could. Needless to say, I was honored and encouraged to get a personal note of confidence like this from The Great Coach Himself. I did my coach training in August in Europe and before I was ready to get more deeply involved with the organization, I knew I needed to meet these people and let them meet me – just to make sure this was a good fit.

In December 2010 I flew to Coral Springs, Florida to meet with Terry personally, as well as meet Coaches Shane Eversfield and Coach Shinji Takeuchi who were running the coach training camp there. We connected well and by the end of the week he took me aside to share his vision for where the organization was going, and personally invite me to get more deeply involved. He asked me if and how I would like to participate and I told him my interests without hesitation. He seemed pleased. What I heard that day excited me and aligned with where I wanted to go with my own vision, skills and business. It felt like a great fit.

Over the next few years, I enjoyed a relatively close working relationship with Terry – at least more than I could have imagined before – and with a handful of other great coaches, to develop plans, writing projects, programs and products, and to help TI grow in new regions. He was a wonderful support and encouragement. He came to Turkey twice to do swim camps with me. We met up at events in London and in his home in New Paltz. We enjoyed a regular correspondence, as I know some other colleagues did also.

I would say, until about early 2014, we seemed to be moving in this visionary direction, connecting with more colleagues from around the world and developing plans, taking steps together. For all of 2013 I was deeply involved to help prepare TI for that vision.

But something started to change toward the end of that period. I am not sure I can explain what happened, but the energy and ideas and collaborations started to dissipate.

Over that next year or so progress was not made. Plans faded away. The vision that was once held up, was no longer being promoted with vigor. Meanwhile, a large segment of my plans for Mediterra were being kept on hold while I waited to see what TI would do so I could keep those plans parallel and complementary.

At the end of 2015 came Terry’s announcement of prostate cancer and that understandably changed the whole sense of priorities and urgency for him and the company, as well as for all of us coaches and our businesses connected to it. Ideas for how to prepare the company for its future – at the best, for his recovery and reduced leadership role, or at worst, for his departure from this world – were presented, but unfortunately, none of those were carried out before he passed away in October 2017.

When his wife Alice Laughlin took over, with the help of her daughters, they had to do that in the midst of their intense grief. No doubt it was a very difficult thing to do. Understandably, as the sole owner and manager, she has had her own ideas and vision for the company. It became increasingly apparent that those were not lining up with the ones that drew me to join originally. I have kindly submitted my own perspective and ideas when asked, I waited and watched with patience, first supporting Tracey in her role as director and then Dave, that something I would feel connection with would emerge. But it has not, and after a great deal of searching for hope, and talking to others who are looking also, I don’t see signs that things will shift in a more suitable direction.

The Present Decision

TI, as a private company, has to do something to make its business grow. I know that too well and appreciate that urgent need. What has emerged in the last few years and what it taking shape now, might be the right plan for the company and for the family, I don’t know. But the plan and the company, as it currently is, is no longer a good fit for me as a creative coach and it is no longer a good fit for the vision I have for Mediterra. So, for this reason, with some regret and with some relief, I have decided to withdraw my association with TI. This frees them of a reluctant participant. This frees me and Mediterra up to go in the direction we need to go. Hopefully, we will each prosper in our own ways.

I am leaving with a warm heart toward the memory and legacy of Coach Terry. I still grieve for the loss of him, as many of you do. I have the greatest affection, admiration and pleasure in my TI Coach colleagues. I still believe the TI method is the best way for learning to swim and for improvement that I have seen developed yet. I have no hesitation about continuing to have much of my practice and my teaching inspired by it. I have no hesitation recommending people to the method and referring people to my TI Coach friends around the world. Of course, I will no longer refer to myself as a currently certified coach with this organization, but I will proudly recall my history with TI and Coach Terry.

For my swim students and audience out there, what you have come to expect of me in my practice and teaching and will continue and it will increase. There will be more news on that later. And, for my former TI Coach colleagues, my heart and friendship remain completely open you – I would be pleased to continue our conversations, mutual encouragement and collaborations, if you will.

I am not aware of any controversy or contention between me and the company, other than me just not being interested in joining in the direction they are going. So in my mind, I am departing under peaceful conditions, with good will in my heart.

I hope you can receive this explanation at face value. If you feel the need to chat with me more about it, send me an email.

Sincerely,

~ Coach Mat Hudson

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