Craig Masback, the CEO of USATF, is moving on. After a decade of dealing with the good and troubling in the world of global sports, Masback is leaving the job he was made for. Masback was not asking for sainthood, but from where he inherited the sport and the zeitgeist that now permeates the American side of the sport is much different than way back in 1997. The sport today is full of promise. We are not on the mountaintop yet, but we can improve the sport and continue to raise both the identity and financial vitality of our sport with the proper leadership. That will be the challenge for the new leadership.
President Bill Roe and a select team will be running the federation while the search process takes place.
A search process is a moving, breathing behemoth. The process can stop many places, and it can also change its direction with little notice. In searching for the best leader for the next decade or so of our sport, should we not take the time to find the best leader that we can?
Masback has enough detractors, just like anyone who would have taken that position. That comes with the territory. But the truth is, we want someone with the ego, the HUGE ego to want that position, but also with the self control to know that, at the end of the day, they are trying to stear the Titanic through a literal minefield of icebergs. Go slowly, my friend, breath and spend some time considering the situation.
The new leader needs the support of the coaches, agents, and elite athletes that make up the sport. The new leader needs to understand that there are groups, associated only mildly with the federation that can either help or hinder the sport. The new leader needs to have some of that we are the world kind of feel going to.
The new leader must know when to wear a $1000 suit, nice watch, a shoes when pitching the lords of industry. And he or she must not make any apologies. Proper corporate dress is de rigeur if one wants to be taken seriously on the corporate battlefield. And with the sub prime fiasco and the whispering of recession, the new leader is going to have to be even more adept at sales, and spend more time there than Craig even did.
The new leader will have to have the trust of the board, but also know that, sometimes it is better to apologize after and walk in with a $10 million new sponsor. The new leader must be a risk taker.
The new leader must know how to delegate. Find a general manager who can manage the business while the new leader is meeting, greeting and SELLING. The new leader has to be tied into finding people to do what he or she will not better than the leader ever could.
The new leader must also realize that there are already some good people in Indy, and that reinventing the entire wheel instead of finding key leaders to help in the next decade of growth. Decimating the staff will only kill any consistency and will destroy the morale of the team.
The new leader will make mistakes, for, after all they are human. But, in a sport we love, in a sport many of us make a living from, the new leader of USA Track & Field will need to be able to inspire us, challenge us and bring us to our feet during a year that should be momentous!
What a job! Who would want such a position? We can not wait to find out!