Saturday, July 19, 2008

Doug Logan’s First 100 Days Running USA Track & Field

The answer to the sport’s prayers.

The situation couldn’t be more volatile in track and field today. It’s an exciting, treacherous, and cynical time in U.S. Track and Field, as newly anointed CEO Doug Logan takes the reins of the national governing body.

In his first teleconference on Friday with the press as CEO of USA Track and Field (USATF), Doug came off as approachable and open to the challenges facing him as the organization’s new leader.

In his office, he keeps a picture of himself in a clown suit that was taken nearly twenty years ago to remind him never to take himself too seriously. That sense of humor may come in handy, as the former Commissioner of Major League Soccer gets the lay of the land and develops a plan to address track’s nearly countless areas that need attention.

His experience and business acumen is the reason the USATF Board of Directors believe he is the answer to the organization’s issues and the answer to the sports prayers.

The first 100 days will set the tone of his tenure at the organization. Managing USA Track & Field is no task for an inexperienced executive, as the organization oversees more activities than any of the other national governing bodies, such as swimming and gymnastics. Currently, USA Track & Field oversees youth running, elite running, trail running, road running, and race walking.

“In the first 30 to 60 days, I'm going to be a huge sponge. I will talk to fans, coaches, athletes, officials, members of the press and sponsors - everybody involved in the sport at one level or another,” said Logan. “It would be a disservice for me to jump in and be presumptuous that I have answers before I undergo that process.”

The honeymoon period for Logan will more than likely be extremely short with the Olympics only three weeks away. He will have get up to speed quickly, as his new role at CEO of USATF will require him to meet with the leaders of international track organizations.

Regarding the pending Olympics, Logan stated, “I think we've got a great team, and I look forward to that competition and supporting our team in the best way we know how. Beyond that, we've got a wonderful Olympic Team that I hope to be joining early in the process in Beijing, and hopefully, we will come out of that competition with a number of medals greater or equal to what we've had in the past.”

There are complex issues facing USA Track & Field such as the sport’s doping issue, the board reorganization, and of course, how to grow the sport to soccer moms across America.

“We've got a reorganization going on and a series of meetings. I'd like to offer whatever resources I've got to those organizational efforts,” said Logan. “I've got other stuff to do. I've got a very able staff that Craig [Masback] put together to sit down with and talk to, let them know what doing business with me is all about, and what being my colleague is all about.”

Logan seems unwilling to get caught up in the frenzy coming off the Olympic Trials and the energy leading up to the Olympic Games. He seems to have a sense that all of the momentum will probably not carry over to next year.

By Jay Hicks.

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