SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2017

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Page 14 of 67 January 2017 15 It all started for Dr. Roger J. Goudy 40 years ago on the local level when the young man who competed in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) track events as a teenager began to organize events in northeastern Ohio. So when Goudy rose to president and CEO two years ago, he wasn't about to slow his penchant for innovation. "We're doing a lot of different things," Goudy said. "We are expanding the number of licensed events we have in the 36 sports. We are going up 20 percent overall. In sports like beach volleyball, we actually are doubling the number of beach events we are do- ing. In a sport like Futsal, we are going from zero to a national champion- ship. Boys basketball is growing again. Volleyball is growing like crazy." Goudy spent 22 years as the AAU National Volleyball Chairman and grew the Girls Junior National Volleyball Championships into the largest volleyball event in the world as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2012. More than 27,000 com- peted in 2016. Goudy's initiatives continue to drive growth. "We are trying to focus on what we are, which is a multi-sport organi- zation," he said. "The challenge that I made to all of our sports committee at the national level is that we want to float all the boats — we want to grow all the sports. "Volleyball has been growing for the last 15 to 20 years. Some sports have been up and down or sliding. This year our challenge is to get every sport growing. We are up about five percent already early in the year and the trend is going even better than that." To spur that growth, Goudy focuses the AAU on multi-sport games, where different sports — boys basketball, girls volleyball, Futsal and baseball — come together at one venue in a festival. "When you rent a convention center or hall and you only need 10 vol- leyball courts and still have room, you might as well do something there," he said. "You do it in a more economical fashion than just doing it with a single sport. … The girls volleyball players like to go over and watch the boys basketball players and vice versa. And some of the unique sports like Futsal would never get the same exposure as basketball would get but if you put them in the same building together, they get to see the other opportunities they might have. Our card is multi-sport card, so once you pay your $14, you can do karate or basketball or all our sports if you want to." Another initiative of Goudy's is AAU Proud, which promotes fun over competition for youngsters beginning in sports. "We are trying to make all our activities more than just a competition," he said. "We are trying to make opportu- nities for the young and the old so that when they come there they can have fun, too. We're not taking away the competition but at the lower end, we're trying to make it more fun." Goudy pushes for having fun and making a differ- ence. "The other initiative we started is AAU Cares and that has really helped us," he said. "We packed 40,000 meals [at the Volleyball Nationals] for kids in Orlando who can't afford those things. This year we plan to pack 80,000. "It just amazed me when we started it. We thought we would have a hard time getting people to pack things but not only did the kids show up and the coaches, but the referees showed up and the parents and it was amazing. Some people say that was the most fun part of the event. Philosophically, we have shifted a bit during my tenure. We are trying to not just go into a town and run events, we try to leave something behind whether that's bikes for kids in New York City who can't afford it or track shoes for kids at our national championship site who can't afford them or packing meals." n Dr. Roger J. Goudy President/CEO Amateur Athletic Union SPORTS EVENT PLANNERS TO WATCH IN 2017 Life is a game and sports event planners bring life to their games. It takes a special breed of individuals to harness the creativity, resourcefulness and perseverance it takes to succeed in this field. These award-winning planners exhibit exceptional dedication and spirit. SPECIAL FEATURE: Awards & Recognition Issue

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