Saturday, March 6, 2010

Tribute to Doug Speck (1948 - 2010)

In 2005, Doug Speck was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the USATF Southern California Association:

Rich Gonzales (L) presents award trophy to Doug Speck (R)

Raised in Los Angeles, Doug graduated from Eagle Rock High School in 1965, where he was introduced to track & field by Bill Peck (then a student teacher) and long-time Eagle Rock track coach and local AAU official, John Oden. He went on to attend Pasadena City College from 1965-1967 where his interest in the sport was further nurtured by its track coach, Ted Banks—later one of the most successful cross country and track & field coaches in NCAA history at University of Texas- El Paso. From 1967-71 he attended Cal Poly- Pomona, where he graduated and competed in cross country and track for a year, until injured.

Doug taught social studies and coached track and cross country in Oxnard from 1971-76 at Channel Islands and Hueneme High Schools. Since 1976, he has been employed by the Arcadia School District teaching social studies and physical education, and serving as Athletic Director from 2000 through 2004. He coached cross country and track & field until the mid-1980's when his daughters entered middle school time and more time on the home front was called for.

From 1976 through 2000, Doug helped the Arcadia Track & Field Invitational to expand its reach to include outstanding high school athletes from other states and nations. In doing so, he morphed his school’s annual invitational into what has become America’s premier high school track meet. Celebrating its 42nd edition in 2009, the Arcadia Invitational has grown to feature more than 300 teams from as many as 25 States and 3 foreign countries competing in 100 events in its Friday evening relays, Saturday open session, and Saturday evening invitational. Performance-wise, there is no other high school track meet that comes close to matching Arcadia’s 22 national records and alumni of 101 Olympians.

For the past 25-years, Doug has also been an editor covering prep cross country and track & field for California Track & Running News and Track & Field News, and, more recently, He was a founding member of the CIF State Track & Field and Cross Country Advisory Committees, serving from the late 1980's through 2002, and created the cross country rankings for the CIF Southern Section and State polls for two decades starting in 1980. From 1988 through 1996, he was also a USATF Consultant for its National Junior Program, helping to dramatically increase participation in the National Junior Championships. In that capacity, he had the experience of accompanying USA Junior National teams to international competitions as far away as Poland and Cuba.

Doug served as vice president of the Southern California Association of USA Track & Field during the 1980's and early 1990's. He has been the lead announcer for major high school competitions nationwide, including the Foot Locker Cross-Country Nationals, Indoor & Outdoor National Prep Track & Field Championships, USA Junior Championships, major local Invitational meets, and the CIF State Track Field Championships.

Doug has two daughters: Kerri, a member of the California Bar who is taking a few years off to raise his granddaughter, and Jennifer, who is finishing up her Masters degree in counseling. He now resides in El Segundo with his girlfriend, Leslie Paoletti. On most afternoons, the two of them can be found cruising up and down the bike path to Manhattan Beach and back.

No one has done more to raise the profile and brighten the spotlight on high school track and cross country in Southern California than Doug Speck.

(By Skip Stolley)

More information: SCA Lifetime Achievement Awards

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