Over the last three years, I have watched the sport that I love continue to miss opportunities, some, historical opportunities, to go forward. I have spent countless hours listening to sponsors, fans and athletes wonder out loud about where USATF is going. Over the same time, I have marveled at the quality and composure of our athletes.
Some may say that our federation is evolving. Evolution is difficult. It is not smooth, it is brutish, and many get hurt in the process. Some things will no longer exist. There will be steps forward, sideways, and yes, backward. Some things will succeed, some will not. No one should expect changes to come in our federation in any easy manner.
The CEO search is the newest case in point. The most recent search may have been even more costly than the Doug Logan search, in terms of the federation’s credibility. The newest search plans to have the new CEO in place before the Olympic Trials. The press release noted over 100 resumes in house, and that the sport needed an experienced marketing exec who has long term ties with the sport. The USATF press release on the matter, noted that a new CEO should be in position before the US Olympic Trials.
Over the past several weeks, I have spoken to at least a dozen very talented people who love our sport, surpass the qualification standards. I must admit that I have been less than positive. Not because they were not good candidates, but because, I feel, that the process is, at the least, problematic. With the quoted 100 resumes, it might seem that the Search committee has some strong candidates. With the re-written job description, some might believe that the ideal candidate lie just beyond the Search committee’s grasp. And there does exist the possibility that USATF’ Search committee has an internal candidate.
Some people, however, just will not give up. Take Tracy Sundlun.
Tracy Sundlun called me at the end of last week, and told me that he wanted to put his hat in the ring for USATF CEO, no matter what. Tracy is a great friend. He loves the sport. He is a businessman, and he is a closer. All of those are parts of what is needed to be in the position of CEO of USA Track & Field. I have to admit, I did not encourage him.
Much better than I could have, Jim Spier, of the National Scholastic Sports Foundation, put his Foundation’s support behind Tracy Sundlun, with his column on 3 April : Tracy Sundlun for USATF CEO. And then, today, Toni Reavis, one of our sports most important columnists, gave us this one: USATF CEO: Big Ideas and Wide Horizons.
I have known Tracy Sundlun for nearly twenty-five years. I have seen him action at major track meets and I have worked with him on various projects for much of the last fifteen years. He is a good and honest man. He appreciates new challenges. He is also a good friend to the sport and those in the sport.
Tracy Sundlun is an example of someone who is experienced in our sport, who has both the business, sport connections,management experience, and love of our sport, to help guide it through the changes needed. It makes me feel good that there are people like Tracy, who want such thankless jobs.
We can only hope that the Search Committee for the USATF CEO have people of Tracy’s quality on their short list.
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