An athlete, race director, official, volunteer, author and speaker. A coach and a mentor. An inspiration and an innovator. A pioneer of the sport and a titan of the community.
Mike Greer, who dedicated his life to triathlon and the multisport community, passed away at 82 on July 21. His service to the sport spanned nearly four decades and encompassed every facet of the industry.
The Funeral service is planned for Monday, July 26 at 1 p.m. CT in Lubbock, Texas at the Sanders Funeral Home.
Mike competed in over 400 triathlons across every distance and continued to excel as an age-group athlete into his 80s, created and served as the race director of Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 at Lubbock, Texas, for the past 30-plus years, held the position of both Interim Executive Director and President of the Board of Directors of USA Triathlon, and created the swim-bike discipline of aquabike, among other accomplishments and contributions.
Mike was one of the forerunners of the sport who guided triathlon through its formative years to bring it stability, authenticity and solvency, and laid the foundation for the current success of both the sport and the National Governing Body.
“All of us stand on the shoulders of Mike – what he did for our sport and USA Triathlon cannot be overstated,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “He taught all of us so much about both triathlon and life, and his legacy will have a lasting impact in every corner of our industry and community.”
In addition to triathlon, Mike was a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, as well as a successful businessman, life coach, retired Lt. Colonel who served in the Army on active duty and the reserves, and a devoted rider of his Harley Davidson Black Heritage Softail. He authored two books, “Mind Management,” and “11 Points of Healthy Ageless Living.”
The Spirit of Multisport Award recognizes individuals who illustrate the positive spirit of multisport through acts of sportsmanship and leadership, with no deference to athletic ability. In recognition of the tremendous impact Mike has made on both the community and USA Triathlon, this award will now be known as the Mike Greer Spirit of Multisport Award.
“Mike epitomizes what this award is about and we are glad we can not only celebrate his legacy every year, but also teach the next generations what Mike meant to our sport and community,” said Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Chief Sport Development Officer. “He has meant so much to me, our organization and our sport, and I am proud to have called him a dear friend for the past 30 years.”
Mike arrived at the sport later in life, doing his first event with a borrowed bike in 1984. A gifted athlete, he attended college on a football and track and field scholarship. He took up endurance running in the late 1970s and after 44 marathons — his fastest time was 3 hours, 35 minutes at age 41 — a friend urged him to try a triathlon.
His first event in 1984 was an 800-yard swim, a 32-mile bike ride through the Guadalupe Mountains and a 10K run. He quickly fell in love with the sport and eventually conquered seven IRONMAN races, including two finishes at IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
A Texas native, Mike launched and organized 50 events across the state and southwest, in Dallas, Odessa, Amarillo, Big Springs, and Roswell, New Mexico. Most notable of his races is IRONMAN 70.3 Buffalo Springs in his hometown of Lubbock, Texas, which is now in its 29th year.
“You aren’t in race promotion for the money,” Mike said in a 2018 interview with Scott Richardson. “It’s psychic income. I know I can’t make a deposit at the bank with it. But, I have people say, ‘This race has changed my life, this sport has changed my life.’ That right there, that keeps me going and keeps me here. Just to know you’ve had a positive influence over someone you just met, that is cool.”
Mike joined the USA Triathlon Regional South Midwest board of directors followed by the National USA Triathlon board of directors in 1994. He never stopped competing. While president of the USA Triathlon Board of Directors, he traveled from Maryland to Cleveland to Chicago on consecutive weekends to do triathlons.
While interim executive director of USA Triathlon in 2004-05, Mike listened when a USA Triathlon member with leg issues suggested an idea for a new race format featuring the swim and bike only. Mike worked to make the idea a reality and named the event “Aquabike.” For his contributions, he was inducted into the South Midwest USAT Hall of Fame and the Texas Triathlon Hall of Fame.
A portion of this article was taken from Scott Richardson’s article on Mike published on usatriathlon.org on Sept. 24, 2018. You can read Scott’s full profile on Mike here