USA Track & Field has announced its newly constituted Board of Directors. Among what will be 15 members of the board are respected business executives, National Track & Field Hall of Famers, attorneys, officials, coaches and Olympic athletes.
The new board includes National Track & Field Hall of Famer and sports consultant Willie Banks; National Track & Field Hall of Famer and the first acting President of USATF’s predecessor organization, The Athletics Congress (TAC), Dr. Evie Dennis; former world-class athlete and business executive Steve Holman; USATF official and youth track and field activist Kim Haines; businesswoman and former USATF women’s long-distance running chair Elizabeth Phillips; international sports executive and former business professor Steve Miller; NASCAR executive and entertainment executive Max Siegel; longtime USATF official and practicing CPA Kenneth Taylor; and retired health-care industry executive Jack Wickens.
Athlete members include a trio of three-time Olympians: four-time USA 50km race walk champion and 1999 Pan Am Games bronze medalist Philip Dunn; 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist and two-time World Cross Country silver medalist Deena Kastor; and four-time national discus champion and 2003 Pan Am Games gold medalist Aretha Hill Thurmond.
Board members already specified by USATF bylaws are President Stephanie Hightower and IAAF Council Member Robert Hersh. USATF’s “5E” member organizations, including the NCAA, NAIA and National Federation of State High School Associations, will name their collective board member by early March, which will bring the board size to 15 members.
“It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors as USATF President,” Hightower said. “This is an accomplished group in the personal, professional and athletic realms. They will bring their high standards of excellence to their work with USA Track & Field, to the benefit of everyone who loves the sport.”
“I am extremely optimistic about working with the new board,” USATF CEO Doug Logan said. “All are strong, independent-minded individuals who see the big picture. With their collective capacity to put the best interests of the sport first, we have a bright future.”
The demographics of the board reflect the diversity of the sport: seven of the 14 members currently named are African-American and five are women; of those with world-class athletic backgrounds in the sport, the sprints/hurdles, jumps, middle distances, long distances, race walks and throws are represented. Nearly all are established businesspeople.
In sweeping bylaw changes overwhelmingly approved by USATF membership at its Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada, on December 13, the Board was reduced in size from 31 members to 15. The USATF President, IAAF Council Member, 5E representative and three athlete representatives are selected directly by their constituencies. The six seats nominated by USATF’s High Performance, Long Distance Running, General Competition, Youth, Coaches and Officials divisions, as well as three independent seats, were vetted and ultimately selected by USATF’s Nominating and Governance Panel. Each USATF Division nominated three candidates for each seat, with the Panel choosing the board member from among the nominated candidates. The Independent board members were selected by the Panel from nominations gathered nationwide. The board will meet for the first time on March 7 in Orlando and will elect its own officers.
Below are biographies of current USATF board members.
USATF Board of Directors Biographies
Willie Banks: Willie Banks is the President and Chief Executive Officer of HSJ Incorporated, a sports consulting corporation. An inductee into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame and recipient of the Jesse Owens Award, Mr. Banks is a former world record holder in the triple jump who represented the U.S. in 18 international competitions and was a member of three Olympic Teams.
Dr. Evie Dennis: A former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools and a National Track & Field Hall of Famer, Dr. Evie Dennis has served USATF in numerous capacities over the past four decades. In June 1980, she convened the constitutional convention for what was to become The Athletics Congress (later USA Track & Field), and served as TAC’s acting president. She was chef de mission for the United States Olympic Committee delegation at the 1988 Olympic Games, and has been involved in U.S. team processing for every Olympic Team since 1976. Dr. Dennis has also served as a USATF delegate to the International Association of Athletics Federations, and as Chair of USATF’s Diversity and Leadership Committee.
Philip Dunn: One of America’s top race walkers for more than a decade, Philip Dunn is a three-time Olympian (2000, ?04, ?08) and four-time national champion at the 50 km race walk. He won the 2008 Olympic Trials and the bronze medal at the 1999 Pan Am Games at the distance. A specialist at 50 km, Mr. Dunn also has been ranked as high as third nationally at 20 km. A member of 24 national teams, he has been a meet director for several USATF national race walk championships and is a USATF Level I certified coach.
Stephanie Hightower: Elected President of USA Track & Field in December, Stephanie Hightower currently serves as Vice President for Institutional Advancement for the Columbus (Ohio) College of Art & Design. A former world-class hurdler, Ms. Hightower has served the sport in countless capacities, including as USATF women’s track & field chair and as team leader, team manager and chef de mission for Team USA at international competitions. During her athletic career, she was named to the roster of 12 national teams, held several records and was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team.
Aretha Hill Thurmond: A three-time Olympian, Aretha Hill Thurmond has been one of the most consistent women’s discus throwers in the last 10 years. She was the Olympic Trials champion in the event in 2004 and ’08 and is a four-time national champion overall. She won the 2003 Pan Am Games gold medal and was second at the 2006 IAAF World Cup. In 1998, she threw a then-collegiate record while competing for the University of Washington, and in 2004 she owned all 10 of the top throws by an American woman that year.
Steve Holman: Steve Holman was a member of the 1992 US Olympic Team and won two national championships in the 1500 meters/mile during his competitive career. Mr. Holman now serves as the Department Head of Operations and Strategy for Vanguard Annuity and Insurance Services. He received a B.A. in English from Georgetown University and an MBA in finance from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Kim Haines: Kim Haines is a Master Certified Track Official with more than three decades’ experience as a high school principal, Athlete Director and Coach. Mr. Haines has been an active volunteer with USATF, particularly on matters relating to youth athletics.
Robert Hersh: One of the most recognizable names, and voices, in international track and field, Mr. Hersh in 2007 was elected as one of four Vice Presidents of the IAAF. A retired attorney who has been the English-speaking announcer at the Olympic Games and World Championships, Mr. Hersh served as a member of the IAAF Technical Committee from 1984 until 1999, when he was elected to the Council. He has been on the board of USATF and its predecessor organization, TAC, in various capacities since its formation in 1980. He also volunteered his services as General Counsel of USATF from 1989 to 1997.
Deena Kastor: One of only two American women ever to medal in the Olympic marathon, Deena Kastor was the 2004 Olympic Games bronze medalist at the distance. The American record holder in the marathon, she was the 2003 Jesse Owens Award winner as the nation’s top female track & field athlete and is a past winner of the Visa Humanitarian Athlete of the Year award. Ms. Kastor is a three-time Olympian, two-time World Cross Country Championships silver medalist, a five-time USA 10,000m champion and the former American record holder in that event, a six-time USA 15 km champion and seven-time national cross country champion.
Elizabeth Phillips: Elizabeth Phillips is President of Custom Event Marketing, Inc. Ms. Phillips served as a referee for the first Women’s Olympic Marathon at the 1984 Olympic Games, and she has served USATF as member of its board of directors and as Chair of Women’s Long Distance Running. She has competed in 13 marathons and numerous other races.
Steven Miller: Steven Miller is Chief Executive Officer of Power Plate International and Agassi Graf Holdings. He previously served as President and CEO of the Professional Bowlers Association, Director of Global Sports Marketing Relations (and in other capacities) for Nike, adjunct professor at the University of Oregon and Director of Athletics for Kansas State University. Mr. Miller has more than two decades’ experience as a high school and collegiate track and cross country coach, is a five-time NCAA Coach of the Year and is a member of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Max Siegel: Max L. Siegel, a leading NASCAR consultant, is the former President of Global Operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc. A former executive with the Sony BMG/ Zomba Label Group, he is an accomplished entertainment executive, attorney, author, conference organizer and television and film producer. He often is sought out by the press for his entertainment and sports expertise, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New York Times, Crain’s New York Business, ESPN, CNBC, Black Enterprise and Billboard Magazine, among others. He is a cum laude graduate of the University of Notre Dame School of Law.
Kenneth Taylor: Kenneth Taylor is a CPA who serves as Manager of Audits and Quality Assurance for the Washington, D.C., Department of Housing and Community Development. A former executive with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Taylor has officiated track meets at all levels of USATF and has been a member of USATF’s Audit Committee. He holds a B.S. in accounting and an MBA from Long Island University.
Jack Wickens: A retired executive with United Heath Group, Jack Wickens since 2005 has worked extensively with the sport of track and field, including as a USA Track & Field Foundation board member. Following a successful career as a C-Suite executive in the health care industry, Wickens now focuses his consulting efforts on supporting individuals who face health care challenges through service on several charity and corporate boards. He holds his B.A. in Economics from Bucknell University, where he was a track and cross country team member.
For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org