U.S. Track and Field sacks outspoken Logan

By Gene Cherry

The former Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner became CEO just before the 2008 Olympics and set in motion a major review of USATF after the U.S. athletics team's poor showing in Beijing.

The study resulted in sweeping proposals for change, not all of which were greeted favorably by athletes and long-time members of the organization.

The decision to oust him came at a meeting in Las Vegas at the weekend, USATF said in a statement Monday.

"The board decided based upon the (performance) evaluation (of Logan) the organization needed a different kind of leadership in order to get the results that we need," USATF president and board chair Stephanie Hightower told Reuters.

Neither she nor vice chair Jack Wickens would say specifically why Logan was ousted.

Logan's hands-on leadership and push for change had drawn fire from some within the organization but others said those were not the reasons for his dismissal. They would not elaborate.

There were also concerns about his ability to find new sponsors.

"I am deeply disappointed to be leaving USATF," Logan, 67, told Reuters via telephone from Indianapolis.

"I am proud of the record I and my staff have achieved in the course of the two-plus years."

Asked if that had played a role in his ouster, Logan deferred comment to the board.

"Change never comes in an environment of comfort," he said. "It usually comes in an environment of discomfort."

Logan's contract ran through 2013, and his ouster could result in a settlement approaching $1 million.

"(After) a thorough review of our financial positioning, financial opportunities and the potential cost of a settlement, at the end of the day we thought the leadership change was best for the sport," Wickens said.

Chief Operating Officer Mike McNees will assume day-to-day leadership of USATF until a new CEO is hired.

Asked if Logan, an outsider to the sport, was the right choice when hired in July 2008, Hightower said she had abstained from voting on his selection.

"I did not have enough information and did not think the process was transparent enough," she said.

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg and Nick Mulvenney)