USA Field Hockey Executive Director Weekly Report -Week of January 11, 2010
Last Thursday and Friday I attended the annual National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) held this year in Richmond, Virginia. Most of you are familiar with the organization and its purposes. For me, it was great to attend a crisply-run set of meetings with plenty of educational offerings, governance meetings, award ceremonies plus time to meet with many of the sport's principals. Those principals included coaches, USA Field Hockey board and staff members, vendors, sponsors and others. Overall, the NFHCA is an impressive group; all who are passionate about the sport and with some definite points of view. I learned a lot. Thanks to Heather Lewis, Pam Stuper, Christine Battcock and Laura Darling for guiding me about. I especially want to thank Becca Main, the president of the NFHCA, and Jenn Goodrich, the association's executive director, for their hospitality and for allowing me to speak to the assembled group. So, here is what I had to say to the NFHCA last Friday:
It is a real privilege to speak to the accomplished women and men of the NFHCA on my fifth day on the job. Serving as the executive director of USA Field Hockey will be my fourth experience with an Olympic and/or Pan American sport under the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) aegis. This will be my first team sport experience, and I enter this opportunity with the greatest level of enthusiasm I have had within Olympic sport. Much of that has to do with the excellent executive director search process carried on by USA Field Hockey; much has to do with the staff at USA Field Hockey; and much of my enthusiasm is because of the quality of people I have been meeting these past two days.
This past Wednesday in Colorado Springs, I attended the USOC's announcement of its new CEO. It is no secret that there has been a fair amount of turmoil within the Olympic Committee for the past 18 months. Scott Blackmun was selected as the USOC's new CEO. Scott is an attorney; has a vast amount of Olympic experience from former capacities as USOC counsel, sports partner director and interim CEO; was the COO for AEG, a large event production company in LA with many international contacts; and, in short, he is well qualified and will bring stability to the USOC. Scott is also an athlete with principal interests in soccer and field sports. USA Field Hockey will be well respected during Scott's tenure.
Also on Wednesday, I signed USA Field Hockey's High Performance Plan contract with the USOC. It is amazing. Collectively, looking over all components of the contract, the USOC will invest well over $1,000,000 with USA Field Hockey for 2010. There are 46 national governing bodies (NGBs) with Pan American and/or Olympic membership in the USOC. Of those 46 NGBs, only 5 received an increase in funding allocation for 2010, and USA Field Hockey was one of those 5. Someone, whether it was Heather Lewis (serving at that time as acting COO) or Terry Walsh or any combination of Heather, Terry, the entire high performance team, and the 2008 field hockey Olympic Team, did a bit of magic to achieve that level of funding. Insofar as I can see, the funding number for 2010 is the largest in USA Field Hockey history. Of course, there are caveats, such as maintaining certain rankings in world classification. So, nothing is ever about yesterday's news; we always must continue to maintain forward progress.
So, what do I see as my goals going into 2010? Well, one is to increase membership and we will talk about that as a USA Field Hockey board/staff in the near term. Another is to maintain the financial solvency of the organization and, indeed, to increase its assets over time...both financial and other. And, finally, my goal is to communicate on a regular basis both the good news and not so good news as everyone involved in this sport is entitled to know. That communication will take place through many different media.
Thank you for this time to introduce myself to you. I hope this to be a long relationship and for us together to accomplish amazing things over the next several years.
So, that was it. The audience clapped politely, and under their collective breathes thought: "Hope this guy is the real deal; we'll see."
I am now back in Colorado Springs and will be spending the remainder of this week continuing to review financial documents and thoroughly reviewing contracts. Additionally I am having lunch dates with staff members trying to get a grasp of responsibilities and how everyone intertwines with each other. It seems complicated, but I am sure as we move along, things will become more obvious and maybe even simple. A major concern I have is to assure those involved with Futures that we have well versed people in place as we go through the transition that started upon my arrival.
This Friday I travel to Los Angeles to meet the many male athletes at Moorpark, and learn to play the game (i.e. get beat up by the men's national team). I am really looking forward to the weekend. I will be the guest of USA Field Hockey board member Martha Jordon and her family. And, I am looking forward to my visit with Martha.
Have a great week!