By Amy Shipley
Washington Post staff writer
Tuesday, September 14, 2010; 12:06 AM
Doug Logan vowed to clean house and reform the U.S. track and field program when he became chief executive at USA Track and Field just more than two years ago, but after an organizational meeting in Las Vegas this weekend, Logan is the one heading out the door.
After listening to an appeal from Logan on Saturday, USATF's board of directors decided on Sunday to fire him even though he has three years remaining on his contract and is owed $1.8 million. The move was announced Monday.
Logan, who had alienated some in the volunteer-based organization with his outspoken, slash-and-burn style, is best known for the independent report he commissioned after Team USA's disappointing performance at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing that levied heavy criticism throughout the organization. He also set a public goal of winning 30 medals at the 2012 Summer Games in London.
The U.S. track and field team won 23 in Beijing.
"I know I've made people uncomfortable," Logan said in a phone interview Monday. "Maybe some people have reached their threshold. There are some really good people in the sport and some wonderful athletes. [U.S. track] has a great deal of potential.
"I knew with the agenda I came to work with, this end was entirely possible."
Mike McNees, USATF's chief operating officer, will take over until a new chief executive is named. Stephanie Hightower, the organization's president and chair of the board, and vice chairman Jack Wickens said board members did not wish to air a laundry list of complaints about Logan's work but preferred to look to the future.
Wickens said USATF underwent a "multi-month" performance review that ended Sunday.
"It's not a single-issue situation," Wickens said. "We were thorough. . . . We have very high goals and expectations for the sport. We came to the conclusion with Doug that we would seek another leader."
The organization was seeking to negotiate a cash severance with Logan that would be much less than the $1.8 million left on his contract, according to a source with knowledge of the discussions. Wickens declined to discuss financial details, but said, "The board went into this with its eyes open. . . . We considered all possible outcomes and concluded this was in the best interests of the organization."
Hightower said the USATF board will meet in Indianapolis the first weekend in October to consider a proposed hiring timeline and other recommendations from a personnel committee. By mid-October, she said, a search for a full-time CEO likely will be underway.
Logan, the former commissioner of Major League Soccer, assumed the helm of USATF after former Washington attorney Craig Masback left the organization to take an executive post with Nike, a USATF sponsor.