Where are the CEO Candidates for USATF? Could be a while......


Craig Masback is now ensconced in the Nike Campus in Beaverton, Oregon in his new position at Nike. The former CEO of USA Track & Field spent a decade at USA Track & Field and under anyone's microscope, changed the way business was being done in Indy.
Now, the upcoming weekend for USA Track & Field is a bit traumatic, as the move into the new offices and leave their home for the past 28 years. One would understand that this time, with the recent World Cross Country and World Indoor Champs, that beginning a search for the new CEO would not be on the top of the list of things to do, at this time.

However, word on the street is that several highly placed tracksters are noting that the CEO search can go on for quite a long time. Some have even tested the waters about putting off the new CEO until AFTER the Olympics!

This gentle blogger wants to know, what product are these people inhaling?

Come on now, Osaka was a superb world championships. And the indoor in Valencia, with a very young team brought home 13 medals. And at the World Cross, there were some really superb performances! USATF seems to be burning on all cylinders...

This has, apparently, given some of the folks at the top the notion that perhaps USATF does not need a CEO. The reasons that USATF is in the place that it is because the organization had a tough leader. No way the person made everyone happy, but that means squat.

2008 is the year that USATF can start showing off-drug testing is out of the office, and track and field is being tough-look at Marion Jones or Justin Gatlin. What other sport has worked so hard to clean up its image?

The CEO of USATF is the first salesman. If he or she is anything else, figure head of the worlds most successful team, sure, but using that entree to get into Corporate America's wallet and make that money the money of the federation is the job, and the most important one of the CEO.

With money, one can cure alot of ills.

Without a leader, the dysfunction that has permeated USATF for decades will rear up its ugly, ugly head again and we will be on a roller coaster again.

Do not get me wrong. We need great candidates, we need to build on what Masback started and in order to do that you need a great CEO, and a great General manager. USATF needs to spend the bucks to get great people, not adequate people.

There is a list of about 40 candidates, according to certian sources within the organization. Half of those should be thrown out immediately, but the other half
should be interviewed and checked.

USATF needs to hire and USE a search firm to keep this clean. The Executive Board should have alot to say about the hire, of course, but they do not want nor should
they hire a panderer.

They need to hire someone to lead USATF who will challenge them, who will do things and ask for approval second and who will, infuriate them at least half of the time. If they do not hire someone like that, someone who loves the sport, but who knows exactly how to sell but also how to put a sales team together, then give it up, USATF will become just another US federation, sucking at the USOC milch cow.

The reason USATF sticks out is that it a) wins, b) runs like a business-most of the time and c) has people who love and will fight for it. The position has to be more than a job for the new CEO.

When I saw Craig for a few minutes in Valencia in March, he looked more relaxed than I have seen him in years. Masback put his all into the job, whether you agree with his actions or not, that is just a fact.

We need someone to build on what has been done for the last decade. So, this blogger asks, perhaps gently nudges the leaders at USATF to look to the big picture and get those interviews going. USATF needs a new CEO.

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