Carl Lewis believes USA Track should keep Doug Logan as CEOBy Eddie Pells, AP
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Carl Lewis says USA Track leader should stay
NEW YORK — Fighting to hang onto his job, the leader of USA Track and Field is getting support from Carl Lewis, who says efforts to oust CEO Doug Logan stem from the inner workings of an organization run by “people who don’t understand anything outside their own zip code.”
Hired shortly before the 2008 Olympics, Logan has tried to bring big changes to his sport after America’s disappointing effort in Beijing. Reports that his job are in jeopardy have been swirling through the summer.
The USATF board meets this weekend in Las Vegas, where Logan is scheduled to give a presentation that could determine his future.
Lewis, who won nine Olympic gold medals over the span of four Games, knows how he’d vote.
“I love Doug Logan. He’s the best thing they ever could’ve done for the sport,” he told The Associated Press. “But the reality is, when you have a dysfunctional organization, you can see the difficulty people can have turning it around. If the volunteers would get out of the way, let Doug do his thing, let his vision push forward, it would happen. But we have a dysfunctional organization and it’s hard to get anything done.”
After the U.S. team won a disappointing 23 medals in Beijing, Logan appointed a panel to study the way USATF worked and suggest changes. Lewis was on the panel that decried an overall “lack of accountability, professionalism and cohesion” among staff, coaches and athletes.
Among the most radical ideas 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. Logan also put out the goal of winning 30 medals at the London Olympics.
The CEO has been criticized for being a loose cannon and someone who doesn’t think out all his plans before he talks about them. One example: The idea of a home-and-home dual meet with Jamaica that never really took hold.
Still, some insiders were startled to hear that USATF, often criticized for its lack of focus and stability at the top, was considering making another change less than two years after hiring Logan, the former commissioner of Major League Soccer, whose reputation as an outspoken outsider was well known when he got the job.
“Someone wants his job, that’s the reality,” Lewis said, while attending a U.S. Tennis Association ceremony to honor Hank Aaron at the U.S. Open. “It’s just ridiculous.”
USATF board president Stephanie Hightower did not immediately return messages left by AP seeking comment. In July, she confirmed that Logan was undergoing his annual review process, but said she was not at liberty to discuss his job performance.
At 49, Lewis is now considered one of the sport’s elder statesmen, though it’s hard to tell how his comments will play to the board in Las Vegas.
He said volunteers in key positions at USA Track and Field keep the organization from functioning the way it should.
“There’s no plan,” he said. “The plan is to stay where we are because it’s fun, it’s OK and I’m important,” Lewis said. “And they see someone like Doug, who has everything to take it to the next level, and they say, ‘Wait a minute here. There’s actually somebody doing something right. What are you doing?’
“The key to that is it’s being run by people who don’t understand anything outside their own zip code.”
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