Chanman's Blog


Track and Field Jobs

Vin Lananna is staying right here at the University of Oregon (at least through the 2012 season).

Two apparently unrelated high profile track & field job openings were reported on the week following the 2011 USA Championships. Despite knowing nothing more than what I’ve read on the internet, I will suggest that maybe these two items are more related than one might think.

First, the governing body of United States of America Track & Field (USATF) announced that it would not hire a new CEO until after the 2012 London Olympics. Mike McNees will continue as the interim CEO. You may recall that in September 2010, USATF’s board of directors relieved then CEO Doug Logan of his position. This led to a lawsuit for wrongful termination by Logan that eventually settled out of court in May 2011.

The CEO search committee has apparently had trouble finding the right candidate for the job. Vin Lananna, the Director of Track & Field at the University of Oregon, was apparently a candidate but did not want the job. Lananna stated that he preferred to remain at Oregon. Initially the search committee said it would not consider a USATF board member for the CEO position, but there have been reports that suggest that the committee is considering current USATF Board President Stephanie Hightower for the CEO job. In September 2010, Hightower indicated that she was not pursuing the job but now seems to be reconsidering.

If nothing else, this announcement takes the pressure to identify and hire the right candidate off of USATF until after the next Olympics.

Second, Mike Reilly, the Associate Athletic Director at the University of Oregon accepted a position with the London Olympic Committee as Training Venue Manager. Reilly has been well known as Lananna’s right-hand man for the last nineteen years. The two first met when Lananna arrived as the new head coach at Stanford University in 1992 and Reilly was a redshirt senior. After that season, Reilly remained at Stanford as an assistant coach for Lananna. Later at Stanford Reilly became the administrator and director of track & field operations. When Lananna became the Athletic Director at Oberlin College in 2003, Reilly moved to Ohio with him where he held various jobs, including associate athletic director, chief financial officer, chief operations officer, and head of NCAA compliance for all twenty-two of Oberlin’s sports. When Lananna accepted a position at the University of Oregon in 2005, Reilly followed Lananna back to the west coast. Lananna has praised Reilly for his work as competition director for such things at the 2008 Olympic Trials, 2009 USA Championships, and the 2010 NCAA Championships. One of Reilly’s nicknames is the “Answer Man” because he comes up with all the solution for Lananna’s problems.

Given the timing of these two announcements, I speculate that after the 2012 London Olympics Lananna and Reilly will change jobs again. I wager that Lananna will leave the University of Oregon to become the CEO of USATF. This would be a great move for USATF as Lananna has the vision and skills necessary to make track & field more popular among the public, more financially lucrative for the athletes, and to insure the highest possible level of performance by the athletes at the international level. Lananna’s departure to take on the challenges of CEO of USATF would create a big hole at the University of Oregon, where Lananna has worked for the last seven years building up the program and marketing Eugene as Track Town USA. Who could fill that void? Mike Reilly.

I may be way off base. I may be looking for a conspiracy theory that isn’t there. I have absolutely no insider knowledge. But if all this happens sometime in the late summer or early fall of 2012, remember you read it here first.

Mike Reilly is heading to London to work for the 2012 London Olympic Committee.

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