Monday, May 23, 2011

The plot thickens regarding the USATF CEO search...

As Jesse Squire posted on tracksuperfan.com, he inferred the possibility that current USA Track & Field president Stephanie Hightower (left/photo courtesy USA Track & Field), who has denied in the past her interest in the position, may be a candidate to be the next chief executive officer of the federation, filling the vacancy left after Doug Logan's termination last September.

Now, Chicago Tribune Olympic writer Phil Hersh writes that the possibility of Hightower getting the CEO position is real.

Citing an interview with with former Nike executive Steve Miller, who headed the CEO search committee for USATF, and who is currently the CEO of the Andre Agassi Foundation, Miller told Hersh, "It is very possible she could become the CEO."

Since the search committee was formed last fall, they have not found a viable candidate for the position. It was rumored that Oregon head coach Vin Lananna would be the next CEO, but according to Hersh's report, he changed his mind.

Hersh writes that, "There is a feeling the entire interview process may have been flawed because all potential candidates are aware of Hightower's interest in the job and may fear she would interfere with the CEO's ability to run the federation -- thereby compromising the CEO's security."

Ken Goe of the Oregonian has an interesting take on all this--he writes, "USATF is for and about the athletes, which isn't good for its long-term viability. If track and field is to be a major U.S. spectator sport in somewhere other than Eugene and at some time other than the Olympic Games, somebody needs to speak for the fans."

Goe adds that the next CEO should be a person who looks at the overall health and well-being of the sport, otherwise, "U.S. track and field will continue to devolve into a self-absorbed, participant sport, holding meets in mostly empty stadiums, watched only by friends, family members and the other participants."

This is just a thought--if Hightower isn't the next chief executive officer of USATF, could there be the possibility that Ian Stewart, currently the head of endurance at UK Athletics, might be in play, as this thread on letsrun.com suggests?

After all, he is somewhat involved in the successful Aviva series of meets in Great Britain, including the annual Diamond League meet in London, through his work in the past with Fast Track, the British sports marketing agency.

Oh by the way, he happens to be married to Hightower.

I might be completely wrong on this, but anything's possible here.

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