Former Olympian Schmidt would consider USATF top job

By Gene Cherry

RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - An Olympic medalist who became an international marketing executive has expressed interest in the vacant top job at USA Track and Field.

USATF is seeking a new chief executive officer after its board fired Doug Logan earlier this month.

"I would consider it, if they approach me," Bill Schmidt, the 1972 Olympic javelin bronze medalist, told Reuters in a recent telephone interview from Knoxville, Tenn.

"Having competed as an Olympic athlete, worked with (organizer) Peter Ueberroth at the (1984) L.A. Games and with a variety of international sports federations, (I) have credibility not only in the business world but also in the athletic arena," said Schmidt.

Currently the leader of his own sports marketing firm, Schmidt, 62, spent 15 years as vice president for worldwide sports marketing for Gatorade, signing NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and other athletes.

"I can call on them and work in concert," he said of corporate America.

More promotion and exposure from the grassroots on up and better marketing also are necessities, he said.

The board is expected to formalize its search at a October 9 meeting.

Schmidt, who was a candidate for the job in 2008, Hightower, and search committee chair Steve Miller have been mentioned as possible successors to Logan.

Miller said he would not seek the job, while Hightower left the door open. Although not a candidate, Hightower said, "Can I be drafted? I don't know."

USATF leaders have said it will be important for Logan's successor to get up-to-speed quickly with the 2012 London Olympics less than two years away.

"I would be able to hit the ground running," said Schmidt, who oversaw eight sports, including athletics as vice president of sport at the 1984 Olympics, and continues to serve as a volunteer coach.

"I know the sport," he said.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Steve Ginsburg)