USA Ultimate Secures Leadership of Dr. Tom Crawford with Long-Term Contract Extension

Posted: January 28, 2016 03:05 PM
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Jan. 28, 2016) – USA Ultimate, the national governing body for the sport of ultimate in the United States and member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, announced today that it has successfully secured the services of Dr. Tom Crawford as the organization’s chief executive officer for an extended term.  The six-year extension runs through 2021, with a built-in extension if ultimate succeeds in getting on the Olympic program.
"On behalf of the USA Ultimate board of directors, we are very excited to have Tom continue leading our organization," commented President DeAnna Ball. "He has been a tremendous advocate for our sport, and his attention to our strategic plan has resulted in enormous strides for the sport, as well as USA Ultimate. The commitment he has demonstrated is unequivocally reciprocated by the board. I have great confidence in his ability to continue to push our sport forward, both here in the U.S. and internationally."
Added Henry Thorne, board vice president: "There are some unique things about Tom we think the community should remember and celebrate, and that reiterate why the board feels so fortunate to have Tom at the helm.  
With a double doctorate in motor (sport skill) development and performance psychology with a minor in exercise physiology and a master’s degree in leadership, Tom has a unique understanding of athlete development and high performance, from youth to the elite level. Tom has also been described as one of the leading experts in talent identification and development. When he was recruited to work alongside more than a dozen Nobel laureates to lead the sport science segment of the inaugural World Science Festival in New York City, he was described as a ‘leading single source expert in achieving athletic excellence.’ The youth development programs he created while he was senior director of the National Institute for Fitness and Sport received national acclaim and were featured live on CBS This Morning. He is also a Distinguished Alumnus of Indiana University.
He is a successful entrepreneur with a long track record of leading, advising and growing companies in the sports, entertainment, health, technology and consulting sectors in both the nonprofit and for-profit worlds. He knows what it takes to lead and grow successful companies and organizations.
The athletes in ultimate should feel excited that the organization is run by a professional with experience working with NBA, NFL and NHL athletes and franchises, top 10 professional tennis players and virtually all Olympic sports. He knows what it takes to be a world class athlete. 

Tom served for a decade as the director of coaching for the U.S. Olympic Committee and spent countless hours with the best coaches in the world, helping them become even better and winning on the global stage. He knows what it takes to be a world class coach."         
Some notable developments for USA Ultimate under Crawford’s leadership include:
  • Significant membership growth (more than 80 percent).
  • Tripling revenues and more than doubling the size of the staff.
  • Rebranding the organization to USA Ultimate to better fit into the U.S. sports landscape. 
  • Securing ESPN as a broadcast partner in a multi-year deal covering both the College Championships and the Triple Crown Tour and putting ultimate’s top athletes on the big stage.
  • Gaining U.S. Olympic Committee membership and recognition and helping WFDF secure permanent IOC recognition.
  • Creating partnerships with the Catholic Youth Organization, Boy Scouts of America, Women’s Sports Foundation, Jewish Community Centers and other youth-serving organizations, all helping to grow youth ultimate.
  • Creating the new state organization structure to truly scale the sport and grow youth ultimate even faster through great local leadership and entrepreneurial energy.
  • Launching The Ultimate Foundation to raise revenues and support outside of USA Ultimate’s annual operating budget.
  • Growing the Youth Club Championships into the largest single event on the annual calendar. 
"As I’ve said many times, I fell in love with ultimate as a unique, wicked fun and highly athletic sport," said Crawford. "I love the Spirit of the Game ethos, and unlike other sports that talk about and even emphasize sportsmanship, ultimate has found a way to truly operationalize it, so it sticks and becomes part of the fabric of the sport, and I love that. It makes this sport very different from most other sports, and I’m energized to be sure families learn about it as a great option for their children. And I want to put our world class athletes on the big stage. Thus I am thrilled and truly honored that the board is pleased enough with my leadership and performance to offer me this long term agreement that allows me to continue to lead the smartest staff I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and to lead the growth of ultimate and this organization for years to come. We’ve got some really exciting plans, and I’m truly psyched about our future!"

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