Inside job: U.S. track's CEO search finally ends

  • Pin It
Max Siegel with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Getty Images

Max Siegel with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Getty Images / April 23, 2012)

The reality is Siegel was on the board from February, 2009 until a month before he became a consultant, then moved from that to CEO.  That means he was on the board when Logan was fired. Not too many degrees of separation there.

"Perceptions are what perceptions are," Miller said. "I feel we went through the process appropriately." 

According to a person familiar with the search process, the the board chose Siegel over New York Road Runners president and chief executive Mary Wittenberg and USATF chief of sport Benita Fitzgerald Mosley.

Siegel becomes the only African-American chief executive of one of the 38 national federations governing an Olympic sport in the United States.

He has been president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc.; a senior vice president at Sony/BMG; the owner of Rev Racing and a major player in NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program.

Since coming to USATF, he has worked at shoring up the organization's foundation in areas not publicly apparent, with the plan of making more visible home renovations in the future.

Siegel has concentrated on repairing and strengthening relationships with current sponsors and positioning the organization to capitalize -- hopefully - on the visibility provided by the expected success of the U.S. track and field team at the 2012 Olympics.

Siegel said Monday he would stick to the 30-medal goal for London that Logan had announced.  The U.S. team won 23 medals in Beijing four years ago, 25 medals at the 2011 world championships and last reached 30 Olympic medals - on the nose - at Barcelona in 1992.

"The thing the organization does better than anyone else is field the No. 1 track team in the world," Siegel said.  "We are going to continue to do everything we can to support those efforts."

Doping, disinterest and Michael Phelps have made track second fiddle to swimming in NBC's Olympic coverage.  That was evident in the network's having the 2008 Olympic program changed, putting swim finals in the morning so they would be live in prime time in the United States.  Track was shown on a tape-delay.

"Having gotten to know the organization, who wouldn't want this challenge?" Siegel said.

Track has lost so much ground on the U.S. sports scene that it appears to be sinking out of sight, despite the continued presence of marvelous athletes.  The question now is whether it is too late for Siegel - or anyone - to dig out of that hole, no matter how successful his underground efforts have been so far.

  • Pin It