USA Volleyball’s Beal in final stretch of FIVB presidency campaign

USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal.
When USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal last year decided to run for the presidency of the international volleyball federation (FIVB), he thought campaigning would require a few phone calls, some meetings at international sports events and building a website. After a trip to Japan, two trips to the Middle East, a trip to Africa and time in Central America, Beal has a different perspective.

“There’s a lot more to this than I was anticipating when I agreed to be a candidate,” he said.

Beal, who is set to spend Saturday hosting 30 to 40 volleyball and international sport leaders during a brunch at USA House, is closing in on the final months of his campaign for president of the federation. He says he’s an underdog in the election this September, but he and the U.S. Olympic Committee are working hard to secure the votes he needs to win.

Currently, there are no U.S. executives serving as presidents of international sports federations. There are a few on international federation boards, but the U.S. has no one making decisions about the future of a sport or carrying sway at the annual meeting of international sports federations, a powerful group in the Olympic movement.

Beal represents the U.S.’s best chance to change that, and the USOC believes that’s important to improving its standing in international sport, especially as it looks to bid for the 2024 or 2026 Olympics. It has thrown its support behind Beal, allowing him to use USA House for Saturday’s brunch and covering some of the $50,000 he is spending on his campaign.

“Volleyball in the U.S. has come a long way toward earning its place among the top nations in the world,” said USOC CEO Scott Blackmun. “That is due to the dedication and commitment of Doug Beal. He is a strong leader in sport, and as one of the top sports managers in the U.S. he knows how to develop and run a successful organization.”

The election is the first in FIVB history, and it will be held during the sport’s World Congress Sept. 19-21 in Anaheim. The other candidates are Dr. Ary Graca, an FIVB executive vice president, president of the South America Volleyball Confederation and president of the Brazil Volleyball Federation; and Chris Schacht, president of the Australian Volleyball Federation.

Beal’s campaign is built around the promises of professionalizing the staff, introducing good governance practices, offering more financial assistance to member federations and improving the volleyball product to make it more appealing worldwide.

“I’m quite sure I’m not the favorite, but … I’m a viable candidate and I’m becoming a more viable candidate as the election goes on,” Beal said. “There’s a lot of time to still politic and influence people’s votes.”

If Beal wins, he will set up an FIVB office in Colorado Springs. He has called the area home since he joined USA Volleyball in the late 1990s.

But long before he was an administrator, he was a volleyball player. He played at Ohio State and was named to three Olympic teams. He later became the Olympic team coach and led the 1984 team that won gold in Los Angeles.

He joined USA Volleyball as a special assistant to the executive director in 1993 and became its CEO in 2005. The organization has increased its revenue by more than 17 percent to more than $13 million since he became its top executive.

Beal said he’s been challenged to balance his USA Volleyball responsibilities with his campaign, but it’s been worth it.

“I felt we needed a choice,” he said. “I’m at the point where I’m interested, and I have a different vision for how the sport should operate and where it should go.”

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