Well, the guessing is over! None of the rumors were right! I have been wondering how long that it would take USATF to find a new CEO and the long wait is over.
I hold the Selection board, John Bennett, Adam Nelson, Joetta Clark and Deanne Vochatzer and Cynthia Doyle, in high regard. John Bennett would not be involved in anything that was not done in a professional style. Same things with Nelson, Clark and Vochatzer. I have not met Cynthia Doyle. Bennett, as President of VISA in the 90s, brought the VISA decathlon program-the single best event sponsorship ever in our sport-and supported a renaissance in the multi event for men in the U.S.
According to the press release, a list of 100 was cut to 23. In my research, the list was kept very tight and the presumed "have to bee's" on the list were not interviewed, in some cases. This may have been because of the lack of information. Perhaps the folks that you or I would see as must haves on the list, just were not there.
I remember having a conversation at the Trials with Tony Reavis. Tony has always said, find someone outside of track & field, who knows how to market and knows how to get into a board room, someone who has had major sport experience. In my mind, Mr. Logan's experience in Major League Soccer, his bi lingual culture will both play huge parts in his success at USA Track & Field.
In the future, the battle for global sports supremacy will be between the IAAF and FIFA. In this country, as soccer grows, and it will, track & field will have to be creative and responsive to challenges, both real and perceived, to the sports growth in the U.S. Mr. Logan's experience with major sponsors is key as well. I like that he has worked with companies other than Nike in terms of footwear. Not that Nike has not been a strong supporter of USA Track & Field, but the sport has to stop opening its hands and feeling that footwear companies should shoulder all of the sponsorship burden of the sport.
Mr. Logan's $120 million in multi year sponsorships is a key part of what will make him successful. USATF is underfunded. It should be somewhere around $50-100 million a year budget, which is not insane and not out of the ordinary for a federation that sponsors the singularly most successful sports franchise in US or Olympic history. The
sport needs to sell that Olympic ideal, the view that most Americans put track & field at a higher level than other sports, 365 days a year, every year.
In my mind, it is important to give Mr. Logan the chance to see the team in Beijing be successful. It will be a challenging trip. He will be the new kid on the block and his honeymoon will be short lived. International sports is not a we are the world, we are the children kind of place. Mr. Logan's experience there, in international sports, will help USATF as well.
And his running, citizen runner style gives him an entree into the road running community who seem to feel, much of the time, not included and overlooked. This will be one of Logan's challenges-how to take 30 million road runners and make them track fans. A small meet inside a major road race? Surely such events open the door for the future.
Doug Logan is coming into our sport at one of its most volatile, exciting and dangerous time periods: the USOC will only wait so long for change to happen in our sport. USADA and WADA will become more aggressive and USATF's huge number of tests does have an effect, but every time a US track athlete tests positive, that is not seen as, good sport, cleaning itself, it is seen as bad sport, another example of the filth and depravity in modern sport. Exciting with the level of quality in US, Beijing could be a huge success story and a great time to be promoting and selling the sport. Dangerous in that, the minefields are everywhere, but Logan's comment to meet and discuss with the sport's players shows that he is a savvy leader and knows that there is lot to learn with a new position.
Runblogrun.com wishes Doug Logan the very best in this new challenge as CEO of USA Track & Field.
The entire press release is noted below:
Doug Logan named USATF CEO
INDIANAPOLIS - The USA Track & Field Board of Directors on Thursday approved top sports executive Doug Logan, the former Commissioner, President and CEO of Major League Soccer, as its next CEO. A bilingual sports and entertainment leader with a proven track record of generating long-term sponsor partnerships, television outreach and high fan attendance, Logan and MLS in 1996 were named Sports Industrialist of the Year by Sports Business Daily.
Logan led MLS during its enormously successful 1995 start-up through 1999. He orchestrated the launch of the league's inaugural season, averaging attendances of over 17,000 per game, highlighted by two single-game attendance figures over 85,000. With an annual budget of $90 million, MLS under Logan's leadership generated $120 million in multiple-year sponsorship commitments from Nike, AT&T, adidas, Puma, Umbro, Honda, MasterCard, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch and Bic.
Considered the country's highest-ranking Hispanic-American in sports management, Logan transformed MLS television contracts from a time-buy to co-ventures, negotiating five-year broadcasting agreements with ABC, ESPN and Univision that more than doubled the number of national MLS games on the air. He also directed the expansion of the league in 1998, increasing the asset value of the league from $5 million per team to $20 million per team.
"We have said since we started the process of hiring a new CEO that it was more important to do it right than to do it quickly," USATF President Bill Roe said. "In Doug Logan, we know we have found the right CEO to take us into the next phase of growth. We are so pleased to get a person of his caliber to lead our organization, and we are excited to welcome him to the USATF family."
"I was honored to have stewardship of another major sport, soccer, for four years," Logan said. "The opportunity to play a meaningful role in a second one was irresistible. The strength of the sport is based on the ubiquity of athletics and the fact that everyone has 'played' at one time or another. Everyone has raced their brother or sister. To a large degree, it is a marketer's dream."
Logan was selected unanimously by USATF's CEO Selection Committee after a three-month search that narrowed a potential candidate list of 100 down to a semi-final list of 23. Through interviews and a winnowing process, Logan emerged as the clear choice to lead USATF as it undergoes a restructuring of its board and seeks to expand on the tremendous growth and television programming expansion of the last decade.
Kicking off his tenure on Monday, Logan will initially devote his time soliciting feedback from people in all areas of the sport, including athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers, professional staff, the media and fans, developing an action plan for his first months as CEO.
"I believe the sport is poised for a major leap of growth," he said. "It may seem presumptuous for me to express goals at this early juncture. However, I will devote my energies to maintaining and improving the U.S. position at the top of the medal charts in World Championships and Olympic Games, and I will be a passionate messenger in our battle against Performance Enhancing Drugs. I will act as a fair but firm agent for change as the organization goes through a stressful restructuring, and I believe we can improve on our impressive grass-roots membership numbers.
"With my experience in international business and sports, I hope to foster better relations with the IAAF and IOC. I believe there is a vast potential for growth in sponsorship sales, event creation and television outreach. Finally, I will institute a 'customer service culture' in the National Office in its relations with volunteer leadership and membership."
Since leaving MLS, Logan has run Empresario, LLC of New York, a sports consulting and entrepreneurial firm that in 2001 was a consultant in the creation of the National Rugby League.
From 1993 until 1995 Logan served as Director General of OCESA, SA, the largest concert promotion company in Mexico, and he was Senior Vice President of Ogden Entertainment Services from 1985 to 1993. Logan served as the General Manager of the Rockford (Ill.) MetroCentre from 1979 to 1985, where he was the promoter of the first commercial Arena Football League game in 1985. He was a founder, regent and lecturer at the Public Assembly Facility Management School in Oglebay, W.V.
Logan also has been a member of U.S. delegations to many international sporting events, including the 1996 Olympic Games, 1998 FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Copa Confederaciones in Mexico in 1999.
Logan grew up in Cuba, and Spanish is his native language. He has been a lifelong competitive road runner at distances from 10 km to the marathon, where he has clocked a personal best under 4 hours. A Vietnam veteran twice decorated with the bronze star, he replaces Craig Masback at USATF, who resigned in January after 10 years as CEO.
Cathy Griffin of The Griffin Network administered USATF's CEO search in conjunction with the Selection Committee, comprised of former VISA Chief Marketing Officer John Bennett, two-time Olympic medalist Adam Nelson, four-time Olympian Joetta Clark Diggs, 1996 Olympic head coach Deanne Vochatzer and former USATF Board member Cynthia Doyle.
"I was impressed with Mr. Doug Logan's experience as a leader, his vision and desire to make an immediate impact In mfor Team USA and USA Track & Field as a whole," Clark Diggs said. "As a four-time Olympian and a businesswoman in the sports and entertainment industry, I am confident that Doug' s character, commitment, compassion and competence will help to direct and invigorate our sport."
Bennett echoed those sentiments. "After an extensive search,the Search Committee unanimously and enthusiastically sent Doug Logan's name forward to the Board of Directors," Bennett said. "Doug's experience and qualifications are unique among all the possible candidates we saw and interviewed. He has an entertainment and sports background, negotiating, booking, promoting, and managing events both in the US and in Central and South America, and he restructured the governance of MLS and handled controversial issues with aplomb. USATF will be proud of their new CEO."
"It was an honor to work with the USATF Search Committee members, and was I most impressed with their dedication and performance in the process," Griffin said. "Although they live in disparate areas of the country and have busy lives apart from their service to the Committee, they came together countless times to interview candidates and discuss the process. They did an outstanding job for USATF."
USATF is the national governing body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org