Board of Directors
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Stephanie Hightower, Chairman and President:
Elected President of USA Track & Field in December, 2008, and selected by the Board as its Chairman, Stephanie Hightower in 2011 was named CEO of the Columbus Urban League, becoming the first woman to hold the position. At CUL, she is responsible for managing overall operations, maintaining a viable budget and sound fiscal policies, generating funding sources and implementing its long-term strategic plan. She previously was Vice President for Institutional Advancement for the Columbus (Ohio) College of Art & Design, where she completed a $12 million comprehensive campaign for scholarships and facilities development. A former world-class hurdler, Stephanie has served the sport in countless capacities, beginning with USATF’s Athletes Advisory Committee and concluding as USATF women's track & field chair and as team leader, team manager and chef de mission for Team USA at international competitions. During her athletic career, she was named to the roster of 12 national teams, held several records, including the American and world records in the 60 yard dash and 100m hurdles, and she was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team. As a civic leader in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio, Stephanie served for five consecutive years as President for the Columbus Board of Education, a $1.3 billion enterprise. She also currently serves as an Advisory Officer for US Bank and is a member of several education and cultural boards.
Steven Miller, Vice Chair:
Steven Miller is CEO of Agassi Graf Holdings and Andre Agassi Foundation for Education. He is also the Executive Chairman of the Board for Power Plate International, and previously served as President and CEO of the Professional Bowlers Association, Director of Global Sports Marketing (and in other capacities) for Nike, adjunct professor at the University of Oregon Warsaw School of Sports Marketing and Director of Athletics for Kansas State University. He has more than two decades' experience as a high school and collegiate track and cross country coach, is a five-time NCAA Coach of the Year and is a member of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Kenneth Taylor, Treasurer:
Kenneth Taylor is a CPA who serves as Manager of Audits and Quality Assurance for the Washington, D.C., Department of Housing and Community Development. A former executive with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Kenneth has officiated track meets at all levels of USATF and has been a member of USATF's Audit Committee. He holds a B.S. in accounting and an MBA from Long Island University.
Darlene Hickman, Secretary (non-voting):
Darlene Hickman has been involved in nearly every aspect of USATF in many years of service. She has been a coach for her local youth and adult clubs and is a Master Level Official who serves as one of the head clerks for USATF’s Youth Championships. She was appointed as the first IAAF Woman Race Walk Judge from the U.S., has served on several Team USA youth and women’s international teams and has been the secretary of the National Officials Committee. She was the Board Chair for the first Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials, in 1984, and previously served as Secretary of the USATF Board of Directors. Darlene was selected by members of the new Board to serve as its secretary. As she is not a formal member of the board, Darlene serves in a non-voting capacity.
A communications, corporate, entertainment and sports attorney, Mickey is Senior Vice President of Television Networks Distribution at CBS, where his focus is on multiplatform growth and distribution strategies for all CBS-owned properties. He previously was vice president of national accounts for the Fox News Channel, senior director of programming for Time Warner Cable, in-house counsel for Zomba Recording Corporation and was operating officer for SCA Sports & Entertainment, where he handled personnel, budgets and strategic planning as well as serving as a talent agent for entertainers and an agent for professional athletes. In the 1990s he was a captain in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, serving as a criminal prosecutor at Ft. Leonard Wood. He is a graduate of Harvard University and Notre Dame Law School.
A three-time Olympian and the only American man to win a World Championships medal in the race walk, Curt is General Counsel at Tickets.com, Inc., a privately held subsidiary of MLB Advanced Media, LP. He previously was an associate at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. As a USATF athlete, he won bronze in the men’s 50km race walk at the 1999 IAAF World Championships and was a 29-national champion who set 13 American records, six of which still stand, including his 50 km record. Curt has been active in USATF since his days as an athlete, serving a range of committees including Law & Legislation, Audit, Budget, Race Walk and AAC, as well as the National Athletics Board of Review (NABR). He received his law and undergraduate degrees from Duke University and holds an MPA from North Carolina State.
Dr. Evie Dennis:
A former superintendent of the Denver Public Schools and a National Track & Field Hall of Famer, Dr. Evie Dennis has served USATF in numerous capacities over the past four decades. In June 1980, she convened the constitutional convention, which became The Athletics Congress (later USATF), and served as TAC's acting president. She was chef de mission for the United States Olympic Committee delegation at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games, and has been involved in U.S. team processing for every Olympic Team since 1976. Dr. Dennis has also served as a USATF delegate to the International Association of Athletics Federations, and as previous Chair of USATF's Diversity and Leadership Committee.
Most recently chair of USATF’s High Performance Division, Finke has served USA Track & Field for more than three decades, contributing in long distance running, high performance, cross country, and budget and audit. He is a USATF Level III certified coach in sprints and jumps and a Level II certified coach in endurance events who has served on multiple international teams as a coach for Team USA. Finke is also co-owner and executive vice president of business development for Milesplit.com.
Hyleas Fountain is the newest member of the USATF Board of Directors, replacing four-time Olympian Aretha Thurmond who was hired as USATF’s Associate Director of International Teams in 2013. Fountain is the 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the heptathlon and, in doing so, became the only American woman other than Jackie Joyner-Kersee to win an Olympic medal in the event. A six-time U.S. Champion in the combined events, Fountain was also a four-time NCAA Champion and seven-time All-American in her two years at the University of Georgia. The Columbus, Ga. native is a two-time Olympian (2008, 2012) and has competed in five World Championships.
Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Sam Germany earned honorable mention All-Conference and All-America honors in football and track & field at Fresno State University. In 1975, Germany earned an MBA in educational administration from UNLV, where he also established one of the first USATF Clubs in Clark County. Germany was ultimately named vice president and co-founder of the Nevada USATF Association. Involved with USATF since 1979, he was an assistant coach of the USATF 1985 Olympic Festival for the West Coast, a member of USATF’s Youth executive committee and an Olympic official. He co-founded Pegasus Track Club in Las Vegas.
One of the most recognizable names and voices in international track & field, Bob was elected in 2007 as one of four Vice Presidents of the IAAF and was also appointed as Chairman of the IAAF Competition Commission. In 2011 he was elected as Senior Vice President, making him the No. 2 elected official at the IAAF, serving behind President Lamine Diack. A retired attorney who has been the English-speaking announcer at the Olympic Games and World Championships, Bob served as a member of the IAAF Technical Committee from 1984 until 1999, when he was elected to the Council. He has been on the board of USATF and its predecessor organization, TAC, in various capacities since its formation in 1980. He also volunteered his services as General Counsel of USATF from 1989 to 1997.
A member of the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, Jackie won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in track & field, spanning four Olympic Games. She set multiple records during her career and still holds the world record in the heptathlon and the American record in the long jump. Recognized by Sports Illustrated as the greatest female athlete of the 20th century, she was a two-time winner of the Jesse Owens Award. Since retiring from the sport, she has been a community activist via the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation and as a cofounder in 2008 of Athletes for Hope, a charitable organization of professional athletes who get involved in charitable causes and inspire millions of non-athletes to volunteer and support their communities. The UCLA graduate also works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Farm Foundation to promote the availability and consumption of healthy foods by Americans and she is a nationally sought-after speaker.
Oakes will serve as the 5-C organizational representative. As the current director of sports for the National Federation of State High School Association, Oakes works directly with track and field, cross country, gymnastics, swimming and diving, water polo and volleyball. A former teacher and coach, she serves as a liaison across all levels of these sports with the NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, YMCA and national governing bodies. She has served on numerous governing boards including USATF, USA Volleyball, USA Gymnastics, National Federation of State High Schools Associations, and the NFHS Foundation Board.
Darvis “Doc” Patton will represent the Athletes Advisory Committee alongside Hyleas Fountain and Deena Kastor. Patton is a three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medalist in the 4x100m relay who has been competing at an elite level for more than a decade. Patton also won silver at the 2003 World Championships in the 200m and is a two-time World Championships gold medalist in the 4x100m. Patton was a 10-time All-American in just two seasons at Texas Christian University and was an eight-time JUCO All-American at Garden City Community College prior to his time at TCU.
William Shelton is the managing director for corporate banking and securities for retail distribution in the Americas at Deutsche Bank. He started new business at Goldman Sachs, yielding more than $100 million in new revenue and more than $5 billion in national sales. He also has executive experience with JP Morgan and AG Edwards. Shelton has been a proven board member at several large, national, not-for-profit organizations. He was Chair at Morehouse Leadership Center, founded Healthy Track, a CleanMeals concept company, and co-founded Bingwa Software Company. He has an MBA from the University of Virginia and a B.A. from Texas A&M, where he was a three-year, 400-meter athlete. He currently competes in masters track & field.
Michelle Carter (Athlete Alternate):
The American record holder and a two-time Olympian in the shot put, Michelle Carter was named athlete alternate to the board in December, 2014. In that role she participates in all board meetings and votes if any of the three athlete board members are not in attendance. A champion from an early age, Michelle is a five-time USA Outdoor champion, two-time indoor champion, two-time USATF Junior champion and the 2012 World Indoor bronze medalist. In 2004, she won gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships. She is the national high school record-holder in the shot put while her father, Michael, set the still-standing national boys prep record in 1979.
Eve Wright is a sports executive whose track record of success ranges from the corporate law firm setting to professional golf and professional basketball. She is the former Vice President and Associate General Counsel for the Miami HEAT and the AmericanAirlines Arena (Arena) and Wright advised on a wide variety of legal issues pertaining to marketing and advertising, concerts and events, corporate sales, merchandising initiatives, Arena operations and infrastructure and player-related matters. She regularly drafted and negotiated of corporate and marketing partnership agreements with several Fortune 500 companies and, among other things, negotiated media rights acquisition and production partnerships of Miami HEAT basketball games and ancillary programming as well as technology initiative and Arena facility infrastructure projects. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Director of Business Affairs (and in other capacities) of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and developed sports marketing opportunities for corporate sponsors to leverage their affiliation with the LPGA in order to reach their target markets; presented strategies to activate golf association relationships and identified strategic brand extension and revenue generation opportunities. Additionally, Ms. Wright managed the LPGA’s international trademark portfolio and retail licensing business.
Larry James, Counsel to the Board (Advisory, non-voting):
A respected litigator in Columbus, Ohio, as well as an advisor to local and national leaders, Larry James has been on the business, legal, civic and political scene for the last 30 years. Larry currently serves as General Counsel to the National Fraternal Order of Police, General Counsel to the Ohio FAIR Plan, in addition to his role at USATF. He is President of the Lincoln Theatre Association, co-founder of the African-American Leadership Academy, and a Trustee on the Kenyon College Board of Trustees. He is also past President of the Board of Trustees for the King Arts Complex (served for 16 years) and a former Board Member for the Columbus Museum of Art. Larry and his wife, Donna, received the 2012 American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year Award.