I have been on the road for about two weeks. The first week was vacation, and the second was
visiting our partners. In each discussion, as the coffee needs a warmer, there is the inevitable questions about the demise of Doug Logan.
As a public service, I will make an attempt to tackle what the past CEO missed and what the future CEO needs to understand before he or she tackles the next two years. I do this forensically, meaning as a post-mortem.
Note that most of the points that will be made were provided to me in discussions by various people who observe the sport, work in the sport and most of all, want the sport to succeed.
Doug Logan, former USATF CEO
1. Missing the opportunity to work with the sports‘ agents and managers. This relationship was adversarial from the beginning. This was a toxic relationship from
day 1. The Jamaica-US meet proposal just infuriated the managers because no one was asked about the use of their athletes. It was indicative of Logan’s operating style, which was,
throwing ideas out and seeing if they stuck. In the end, while the idea was good, the implementation required playing well with others, which was not in the cards.
2. Missing the opportunity to work with the meet managers of the sport, as well as race directors. There was no listening tour, there were prognostications. First, listen, then assess.
3. No relationship with major footwear companies, and other major sponsors of the sport. This needs to be explained. Between $60-$80 million in grass roots support from the major 15 footwear companies (including Nike), give the sport life each and every day. From race numbers in the local 5k to support for a coaches association, the money comes from the coffers, mostly of the major footwear companies. Why does not USATF just provide year long VIP status to two reps of each shoe company for major champs? Encourage support of sport, do not make it harder.
4. Lack of appreciation or understanding of the sport. The intimate details of the sport are boths its assets and its negatives. As Jimmy Buffett once said, ” Don’t describe a KISS concert if you have not seen one.”
6. Sponsorship: Current Sponsors need to be shown opportunities to help them grow their business, and ways that sponsors can cooperate. Potential sponsors need to be feted, some for years. In this time and economic climate, gaining new sponsors is terribly difficult.
Then, increasing a budget that there is no way to finance is just not good business. It is one thing to be aggressive, it is another to be suicidal.
7. Lack of appreciation for needs of coaches: Again, no comprehension of coaches’ schedule or needs, or why would a strong idea like Coaches Registry be relegated to the five weeks before the US nationals? If it had been announced at Convention, Register by US nationals, this worthwhile project would have received support.
In the end, Doug Logan did not develop a support structure. He infuriated the agents, managers and coaches, frustrated the meet directors, and confused sponsors, current and potential. When the going got tough, no one would come to his support or aid.
In retrospect, the tenure of Craig Masback needs to be appreciated. The CEO position is a super sales position, and the current evolution, where the CEO reports to an activist board, is fraught with complication. The new CEO will have to spend more time effectively communicating with the new board, or, in the end, face the results of said folly.
And one final point: The current board of 15 has only 3-4 members who were involved in bringing Logan to the CEO position. Word on street is that this current board is quite activist. An example of that activism is Monday’s dismissal of Doug Logan.