Doug Speck and the NSSF go way back. We are pleased to have created an annual award in his name. We are deeply saddened by his untimely passing on March 4 after a courageous two year battle against cancer. We have lost a friend and and a creative force beyond compare. Fortunately, Doug's legacy will live on in many ways. Please click the link below to see the actual page from this year's Nike Indoor Nationals program to get a small sense of Doug Speck's legacy in our sport and beyond.DSpeck.pdf We've started a Cyber Memorial for Doug. Please join us by going to Cyber-Wake for Doug Thank you.
Remembering Doug Speck by Jim Spier
I first met Doug in 1983. I was sitting in Drake Stadium at UCLA with friend Paul Limmer watching the US Women's Junior Championships (in those days there were separate meets for Junior men and women). Paul had an athlete in the 3000 meters, Christine Curtin. (Curtin had won the Foot Locker National Cross-Country title the prior year). She did win the 3000m, somewhere in the 9:25 range as I recall.
I mentioned to Paul that I had never had heard such announcing on the junior or high school level before. He agreed. The announcer gave extensive backgrounds when introducing the competitors, and his race calls added immeasurably to the races.
After the meet, I went up to the announcing area, introduced myself and complemented him on an outstanding job. He sort of shrugged his shoulders and said, "Thanks". It was as if he was thinking, "The kids deserve to have the recognition. Why not acknowledge it".
In the years since then, I have shared announcing duties with him at places like the Simplot Games and USATF Junior meets. When the NSSF meets (Nike Indoor Nationals, The Outdoor Nationals which, at various times were sponsored by American Airlines, Foot Locker , adidas, Nike and, now, New Balance) started to grow, it was apparent that we needed a first class announcer to make the meets truly first class.
So Doug came to mind and accepted our invitation. He became the lead announcer for many of those meets from the mid-to-late 90's until 2008.
Besides his love for the sport, uch of the reason for his success was his extensive preparation. Typically Doug would fly in to our meets two days before the start, lock himself in his hotel room, and finalize his research. He would arrive at the meet with pages of typed data including not only the athletic achievements of the athletes, but the academic ones as well.
What made him so special is that he took an interest in every kid who ran. It added so much to the meet and, I'm sure, was very much appreciated by the athletes.
I am very fortunate to have counted Doug as a friend. All of us who have announced high school track meets used Doug as the ideal. Before him, you were lucky to even get lane assignments or final results announced. That all changed because of him.
I cannot tell you how many times a national record would not have been set were it not for Doug's enthusiasm in getting the crowd involved. And how many lives he touched, especially the high school runners, jumpers and throwers.
Rich Gonzalez, another friend and Arcadia Invitational Meet Director, e-mailed me and others late last night about Doug's passing. He said it best in his last sentence, "Doug always loved announcing meets from an angle above the action. Now he has the best seat in the house".