The Chattanooga Track Club

Promoting Running and Fitness in Chattanooga

Track Club Ready to Hire Full-Timers
By Ron Bush
Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2006
Track club ready to hire full-timers
By Ron Bush
Deputy Sports Editor

The Chattanooga Track Club is about to make a big surge onto a new stretch of road.

At least its board of directors is, and club officials are convinced the pack is ready to go with them.

It’s time to make a commitment to full-time staff, the directors have decided. Going forward with that plan will be a big part of the discussion in the board meeting Tuesday evening.

The immediate objective is to hire a “coach/director” to oversee CTC events, speak regularly on behalf of the club, make regional and national connections and solicit corporate sponsorships to fund more workers and additional projects. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has already committed to a three-year sponsorship.

The position will pay $45,000 to $55,000 a year depending on management and/or marketing experience, but that is without insurance or other benefits for now, club treasurer Dan Bailey said.
“Ideally, we’d like to have someone hired by January,” he said. “I don’t know if we can find the right person by then, and we’ll leave the position unfilled until we do.”

“We’ve been working on this concept about three years,” said Bill Brock, a past club president, citing the “CTC Vision 2016, 2056” approved by the board last year. “It goes with our over-arching mission of proactively getting people healthy.”

That vision plan projects the structure of the club and its work for 10 years from now, with a CTC-sponsored competition at the rate of once every two weeks. Those would include track meets for schools and adults as well as existing and added road and trail races from 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) to marathons and beyond.

The club’s work will go far beyond putting on races, however — to marketing health, essentially. That will include year-round running, walking and health clinics and weekly group training sessions. The vision plan projects another 26 events specifically linked to school programs.

A foundation has been laid. About 400 elementary children participated in 1-mile cross country meets every Thursday this September at the Tennessee RiverPark, with Robert Gustafson leading the track club’s contribution with considerable help from University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Bill Gautier.

“That was awesome. It was great,” Brock said. “The schools were already doing it. We just went in to help.”

But dependable help is harder to find and retain these days, and it likely will be more so in the future. The CTC has relied on volunteers throughout its 36-year history, and substantial unpaid aid will still be necessary, but the plans are too extensive to be carried out entirely by people with unrelated full-time jobs plus family and other obligations.

Without going forward with full-time staff, Brock and Bailey said, the club is in danger of going backward as longtime race directors and workers gradually step aside.

“These events don’t just happen,” Bailey said.

In addition to the coach/director, the vision plan includes a coach assistant and a youth director to work full time plus part-time equipment management, publications support and finish-line workers. Pat Hagan and Keith Finch already are handling the equipment and publications aspects, and Connie Hall is a contract employee doing some of the club-assistant functions, including bookkeeping and coordinating the “Jogging Around” magazine. She was a part-time executive director for a year.

“Connie did a great job, but she’s also the executive director of an advertising group and has bookkeeping clients,” Brock said. “By her choice, she had to back down on what she did for us.”

The club’s directors hope to have $50,000 in annual corporate sponsorships by 2016, to go with 1,500 memberships at $25 each. Other revenue would come from event entries and race management fees.

E-mail Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com


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