I’ve been asked a lot over the past 24 hours who I think should replace Doug Logan as head of USA Track and Field. That’s a very tough question. I feel that it should be someone that has a strong knowledge of track and field. That broad catch all could include former athletes, former agents, or someone formerly or currently in the employ of a shoe company (upper management). Not that being connected to the sport in some way is a guarantee that an individual would have the skill set necessary to run USATF. Of course, neither would going out and looking for an executive from another sport be any sort of guarantee – witness the past two years.
Regardless of where the individual comes from we need someone with solid CEO type skills. Critical would be strong communication skills; the ability to think logically and create a vision for the organization; the ability to develop practical applications for their ideas and theories; and of course the ability to effectively work with and lead others in the realization of that vision.
Given that skill set as a prerequisite, I would ideally like to see the “captain of the ship” come from within the rank and file of the sport. Primarily because I feel that this sport has some uniqueness about it that must be accounted for in attempting to develop and carry forth any sort of true strategic plan that would move track and field forward. I have watched some former elite level athletes perform well in administrative roles in the sport – Alberto Juantorena, Seb Coe, and Sergei Bubka come to mind – and I think that we have some former athletes that could possibly fit the bill. Remember that Craig Masback was himself a former miler and did a solid job as CEO.
Who do I “think” could do the job? Well, I have three in mind that I think could do the job. Of course there is the caveat of whether or not they would want the job AND whether or not the Board of Directors would want them to do the job. But these are the type of individuals that I would choose if I were selecting someone from within the track and field fraternity.
A former intermediate hurdler who was far ahead of his time in terms of training and development of his race pattern. He’s still #2 all time in the event and dominates the all time list – 4 of the top 10, 9 of the top 20. More importantly he has been an ongoing ambassador of sport. He’s participated in the development of a number of drug policies and helped create the first random out of competition testing program. And in 2000 he became the first Chairman of the Laureus Sports Foundation which works to help disadvantaged youth worldwide. He’s currently serving as the Head Coach of the German National Soccer Team.
A former 10000 meter runner and marathoner, Shorter was at the forefront of the creation of the “Running Boom” in the US with his gold medal marathon victory in the 1972 Olympic Games. Shorter helped found the US Anti Doping Agency in 2000 and served as Chairman through 2003. He has continued to advocate for a drug free sport and has testified before Congress on the topic.
A former world class steeplechaser who represented the United States internationally for several years and set an American record in the event back in 1983. As an athlete Marsh was a 10 time national steeplechase champion. Since then he has become a businessman and is co-founder and Executive Vice President of MovaVie – a multilevel marketing company that sells “juice products featuring an exclusive Açai berry juice blend”.
Without going into a full vetting process with these gentlemen I can say that they have both spent a lot of time with this sport and have shown that they have the skill set necessary to perform the job of CEO of USA Track and Field. I think that that is the kind of combination that would ultimately help move us forward and put us back in the position globally that we should be at. So if I were to look within the sport for someone to take the helm these are the individuals that I would look at as potential candidates. At the very least these are the type of individuals that I think should be sought out to try and get the sport back on track (pun intended) here in the US.