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SBJ/March 12 - 18, 2007/Forty Under 40
Published March 12, 2007
With the USOC facing congressional pressure and scrutiny in the summer of 2003, then-acting president Bill Martin sat down with Darryl Seibel in a Denver hotel. Together, they crafted a plan to have Martin visit Washington, D.C., meet with the editorial boards of every major newspaper and sit down with each USOC sponsor.
"I can't say this guy helped save our bacon," Martin recalled, "but he provided the blueprint, the map."
As the USOC's director of communications since January 2003, Seibel is well-known as the public voice for the organization, but he's also recognized by those who have worked with him as much more.
"He is and was a great strategic thinker who could step back and look at a situation from 30,000 feet," Martin said, "and see what was important for the organization and the Olympic movement."
Today, Seibel is considered by Olympic insiders to be one of the four people, along with CEO Jim Scherr, COO Norman Bellingham and chief of sport performance Steve Roush, who chairman Peter Ueberroth turns to for counsel when making critical decisions.
"He's got a breadth of skills that go well beyond his job," Ueberroth said. "He's got extraordinary judgment of people, his word is his bond and he's got an ability to analyze things from a global point of view that's important for our organization."
Seibel joined the USOC during one of the most challenging periods in its history. The Salt Lake City Olympic scandal had put a new focus on the USOC and its revolving leadership, prompting three congressional hearings and an investigation by an independent commission.
As the spokesman, Seibel helped design Martin's response to the scrutiny. He also served on the executive committee that designed the strategy for sweeping internal reform. Over the next several years, the 125-member board dropped to 11 and staff cuts reduced the payroll from 600 employees to 284.
Seibel's work continues to extend beyond the communications field today. He is a member of a four-person team at the USOC focused on fighting the use of performance-enhancing drugs. He also helped design the new Olympic Ambassador Program, which includes guidelines for athlete behavior and training in the culture of the host country.Occasionally, he also sits in on sponsorship sales calls and has played a role in even completing some sales.
"I would have brought him to every one of my sales meetings if I could," said Rob Prazmark, who used to represent the USOC for IMG. "He's got a maturity and an intellect and a command and a presence that's a natural ability."
— Tripp Mickle