(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO) – The coaching staff that will be nominated to the United States Olympic Committee to lead the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team into action in London has been set. 2004 Olympic Head Coach Basheer Abdullah (Fort Carson, Colo.) will serve in the same role in London while 2000 Olympic Assistant Coaches Candelario Lopez (San Jose, Calif.) and Israel Acosta (Milwaukee, Wis.) will join him as assistants. 2012 Women’s World Championships Team Manager Delilah Rico (Los Angeles, Calif.) rounds out the staff in the Team Leader role.
“We are sending a very experienced coaching staff to London with the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and we believe that their knowledge will be critical in aiding our athletes to perform at the highest level,” said USA Boxing Executive Director Anthony Bartkowski. “Coach Abdullah’s Olympic Games experience provides him and the staff with a huge advantage as the team prepares to face the world’s best boxers.”
Abdullah will be traveling to his fourth straight Olympic Games, having served as the Technical Advisor in 2000 and 2008. The 49-year-old Abdullah led the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program as Head Coach from 1997 to 2012 and has coached numerous athletes to national titles during his career. In addition, he served as the Head Coach for the past two Women’s World Championships as the female athletes prepared for their Olympic debut. The 2004 USA Boxing Coach of the Year, Abdullah has coached at every major national and international event, including the Pan American Games and World Military Championships and looks forward to using his expertise to guide the U.S. team to medals in London.
Acosta, who enjoyed a decorated career as an athlete, is returning to the Olympic Games for the second time. With 28 years of experience in coaching, Acosta also enjoys an impressive resume. In addition to his work in 2000, he served on the 2007 Pan American Games staff and has worked numerous international duals and competitions. He has coached multiple national champions over the past three decades and enjoyed numerous coaching awards, including USA Boxing Coach of the Year in 1992. Acosta most recently served as the Head Coach for the Women’s Continental Championships and Team USA won eight medals, six of them gold.
Lopez will enjoy a repeat appearance at the Olympic Games as well with his selection to the 2012 staff. A veteran of international competition, Lopez has led the Youth World Championships squad three times, most recently in 2008 as well as previously serving as Head Coach for the Women’s World Championships.
Rico has dreamt of being Olympic Team Manager since she first got involved in the sport in 2005. She worked her way up the ladder, serving in the important role at the Junior Olympics three times before being selected as the Women’s International Dual Series Team Leader in 2010. Most recently, she worked as the Team Manager for the Women’s World Championships in Qinhuangdao, China where the women won five medals.
All of the staff nominations are pending approval from the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors.