IBJNews

USA Track & Field fires CEO

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Doug Logan spent two years telling other leaders on the U.S. track scene things they didn't want to hear.

On Monday, they drowned him out, firing him as CEO and going in another direction with less than two years remaining before the London Olympics.

Unswayed last weekend by Logan's 45-minute defense of his performance, the USA Track & Field board of directors voted to oust the outspoken, unconventional leader who proposed many uncomfortable changes after America's disappointing performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Logan's contract called for a payment of nearly $1.8 million if he was terminated without cause, though he is negotiating terms of his departure and may not end up receiving the full amount.

"I was given the opportunity to be the custodian of a wonderful sport for two years," Logan said. "I knew my agenda was going to make some uncomfortable and that it was not going to be popular. I knew there would be people that were going to be upset and uncomfortable with the changes we were trying to introduce. At the end of the day, the people who were upset over what I did prevailed."

Chief operating officer Mike McNees will assume leadership duties of the Indianapolis-based USA Track & Field while the board begins its search for a new CEO. Board president Stephanie Hightower said a thorough search would be conducted and the change would not adversely affect preparation for London.

"I have every bit of confidence, and I don't say this lightly, that this is not a headless horse running around right now," Hightower said. "We have very, very, very good administrators who are responsible for development and implementation of the high-performance plan. As a board, we're all looking at 2012. We felt we needed a different kind of leadership to be successful when we get there."

Logan was an outsider when he was hired and made little secret about his intent to take people out of their comfort zone as he tried to bring a fresh perspective to track and field — a sport run largely by volunteers and oft-criticized for instability at the top.

His biggest endeavor was the "Project 30" report — an unflinching account of the problems at USA Track & Field that contributed to winning 23 medals in Beijing, disappointing by U.S. standards.

The panel Logan appointed to research and write the report decried an overall "lack of accountability, professionalism and cohesion" among staff, coaches and athletes.

One of the most radical ideas from the report was a restructuring of the way the United States trains for relays — a controversial undertaking, the progress of which has been hard to evaluate thus far, but which will continue under new leadership.

"We want to begin to have conversations with those athletes, coaches, agents and stakeholders who we think will be directly affected and involved and engaged in the relay process," Hightower said.

Logan's main goal was winning 30 medals at the London Olympics and doing it without any doping problems. He showed no compassion for athletes who got caught and didn't try to hide his disgust when they did.

It was part of his overall way of doing business, a method that left him open to criticism for being a loose cannon who didn't play to the core members of the track world.

"There are some really good people in this sport and I thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with them," Logan said. "Unfortunately, there are a number that are not. I would hope they don't carry the day."

Word that his job was in jeopardy started circulating earlier this summer. On Saturday, he was given 45 minutes to state his case at a board meeting in Las Vegas. On Sunday, the board met without him in the room to discuss his future. The announcement of his firing came Monday in a news release.

The news is being watched closely at the U.S. Olympic Committee, which two years ago issued a directive to USATF to clean up its governance structure and try to bring more stability to its way of doing business.

"They're on the right path," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. "I don't know if this decision affects that path one way or another."

More alarming to Blackmun was that Logan is the third leader of an Olympic summer sport to be terminated this summer, following those at triathlon and fencing.

"You have to be concerned about whether there's something systemic driving these changes," Blackmun said. "It's not in our interest to have this much turnover in top spots. It's hard to field the best candidates if these jobs are as high-risk as they appear to be."

No job in the Olympic program is higher risk than USATF, and Logan was well aware of that when he signed on.

He started posting a regular blog on the USATF Web site that pulled no punches. Within a few weeks, there were grumblings about the way this outsider — a successful sports consultant and entrepreneur who also served as the first commissioner at Major League Soccer — was dealing with the insiders.

He was on the job for the Beijing Olympics, though more as an onlooker because he had just taken over. Last year, he signed a deal with Nike reportedly worth $10 million a year that marked at least a 30-percent increase over the last contract. It was applauded in some corners, criticized in others.

Either way, he won't get a chance to direct that money in the leadup to London.

"We challenged the lethargy that existed with regard to getting 22, 23 medals," Logan said. "We said, 'No, we belong at the 30-medal level.' We have much higher aspirations. I'm my own worst critic, but I'm walking away with my head held high."

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Uh, sorry Johnnie, but you are incorrect. Despite the assertions by yourself and various defenders and captains, sports attendance is NOT off significantly at most sporting events in the US. Variances in attendance has been in the range of single digits, both + & - for years now. MLB has had most of its best overall attendance nubers in the last decade, and that trend has been consistent for most major sporting events. The number one issue cited by most fans when asked about attendance is the overall cost of attending. The presence of HD and big screen televisions in home doesn't even register, as a factor for not attending an event. VALUE in the product is the key, and apparently is something lacking in the current ICS. What other explanation is there when with what is routinely touted as the "best" racing on the planet, fans are staying away in DROVES. A "close" title battle into the last event at Fontana, with the "cars and stars" of the ICS, and who showed up? MAYBE 8K. Sorry, but HD TV isn't to blame for that kind of fan apathy.

  2. Do you need finance to establish your business ? Are you interested in getting a loan at 3% from our private company? If so please Email: suntrust_oil@blumail.org

  3. If she was worth the $ the public outcry over direct tv dropping them would have kept them on their dishes as we have seen with other companies. I too quit watching channel 13 after she showed up since I left channel 8 because of her all show rather than production results. When Randy on 8 corrected her she had a big head and incorrectly challenged his correction for pronunciation of a city. Other antics while she matures was too much for me with her very inaccurate forecasts. All the forecasters were predicting rain until Thursday except Chris. They predicted sunny on Thursday but instead of rain until Thursday upon which the sun would finally make it out in full glory Chris was right on the money just as I too predicted looking at the radar on weather.gov. One thing I love about Angela is the fear you can see in her every time it thunders in the winter. It far exceeds the entertainment value of her body language (high heel noise drags, depression, etc) when her forecasts are so incorrect. Her hair stands on end, you have to see it!!!

  4. Good Day, Apply For A Loan I am Mr Fernadez Antonio, a private Loan lender and a cooperate financial for real estate and any kinds of business financing. I also offer Loans to individuals, Firms and cooperate bodies at 3% interest rate We offer any kind of loans. email us via fernadezloaninvest@outlook.com LOAN APPLICATION FORM First name:......................... Middle name:......................... Last name:........................................ Date of birth (yyyy-mm-dd):....................... Gender:........................................... Marital status:................................... Total Amount Needed............................... Loan Duration.................................... Address:.......................................... City:............................................. State/province:................................... Zip/postal code:.................................. Country:.......................................... Phone:............................................ Fax:.............................................. Mobile/cellular:.................................. Monthly Income.................................... Occupation:....................................... Best Regard, Mr Fernadez Antonio.

  5. i will love to share my testimony to you all the people in world i got married to my husband about 2 year ago we start having problems at home like we stop sleeping on the same bed,fighting about little things he always comes home late at night,drinking too much and sleeping with other women out side i have never love any man in my life except him. he is the father of my child and i don't want to loose him because we have worked so hard together to become what we are and have today .few month ago he now decided to live me and the kid,being a single mother can be hard sometimes and so i have nobody to turn to and i was heart broken.i called my mom and explain every thing to her,my mother told me about DR.okoro how he helped her solve the problem between her and my dad i was surprise about it because they have been without each other for three and a half years and it was like a miracle how they came back to each other. i was directed to DR. okoro on his email:okorospell@gmail.com and explain everything to him,so he promise me not to worry that he will cast a spell and make things come back to how we where so much in love again and that it was another female spirit that was controlling my husband he told me that my problem will be solved within two days if i believe i said OK So he cast a spell for me and after two days my love came back asking me to forgive him i Am so happy now. so that why i decided to share my experience with every body that have such problem contact Dr okoro the great spell caster on his email addresses spellcasterforlove@outlook.com

ADVERTISEMENT