Mike Plant Ready To "Right The Ship" Of U.S. Speedskating As NGB's Chair
U.S. Speedskating Chair Mike Plant yesterday said he would give the NGB's Exec Dir Mark Greenwald "a shot at showing he still (has) what is necessary to be CEO of an organization that gives him direct responsibility without board meddling," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Plant said, "I am told he has fallen short at times." Plant has temporarily assumed the position held by Tom Frank, who "remains on the board." The U.S. Speedskating BOD is expected to vote in May to have Plant "formally assume the final year of Frank's term as president." Speedskating is "mired in problems, some of which have festered for years." Plant said, "We need to find some resolutions real quick. Our results have not been at the same level they usually are." He added he has "not even thought" about an additional term as president beyond '14. Plant: "I am really here to right the ship" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/20). The AP's Paul Newberry noted U.S. Speedskating "decided to hand the job to Plant right away as it deals with the fallout from an athlete mutiny against the former national short track coach, who was accused of physically abusing athletes." The breakaway athletes "recently filed a complaint" with the USOC, contending that the NGB was "incapable of carrying out its duties amid reports of financial woes and organizations infighting." Plant said, "This is a crucial time for U.S. Speedskating and I hope to be able to help propel this great sport forward" (AP, 3/19). In Milwaukee, Gary D'Amato notes Plant "couldn't say no" to the position. Plant, a former speedskater, said, "It's the sport that I started with. ... I've got the leadership skills based on what I was asked to do, which is to move this sport very quickly and efficiently forward" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/20).