Long-time USA athletics official Bill Roe (Carlos Zayas) © Copyright

Roe, long-time USA athletics official, dies

World Athletics is deeply saddened to hear that Bill Roe, a long-time USATF official and leader, and a member of the IAAF Cross Country Committee, died on Saturday (29) at 69.

Roe served as President of USA Track & Field (USATF) for two terms from 2000-2008 and was a U.S. delegate to the IAAF Congress in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. The founder in 1972 of Seattle's Club Northwest and in 1973 of the Pacific Northwest Association of USATF, Roe's resume includes work in nearly all capacities of the sport: as a coach, meet director, clinician, official, administrator, and executive.

“Bill Roe was a dedicated loyal advocate for and an integral part of our sport,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “His knowledge and kindness will be missed by everyone he knew in his nearly 50 years of service. Bill Roe is irreplaceable.”

Roe was a member of the founding TAC (later USATF) Board of Directors in 1979 and served on the organisation's Board of Directors from 1986 until 2009. He became one of three vice presidents in 1988 and was re-elected in 1990 to a second two-year term. In 1992 and 1994, he won two-year terms as Secretary, and in 1996 was re-elected to the position of vice president for a four-year term. He was voted to his first term as President in 2000 and re-elected in 2004. Roe was chair of the men’s Long Distance Running (LDR) Committee from 2012-16.

The founder and past editor of Northwest Runner magazine, Roe was a member of countless committees and task forces on the local, regional, national and international level. During his first term, USATF created a Foundation arm, revised the procedures for the Hall of Fame, created three national club championships, performed both a comprehensive strategic planning exercise for the first time since 1988, and completed a first-ever zero-based budgeting inventory.

Roe coached the men's and women's cross country and distance programs at Western Washington University (WWU) in Bellingham for many years. His athletes set more than 20 school records and earned multiple NAIA and NCAA All-American awards. He was regional cross country coach of the year in 1995 and conference cross country coach of the year in 1997.

In August, 2015, Roe was elected to the IAAF Cross Country Committee and pursued his dream of bringing the World Cross Country Championships back to US soil. Since 1977, he had participated as a coach, manager, team leader, or chef de mission on over 40 USA international teams, including nine world cross country championships. He led the USA team to the 2001 World Cross Country Championships in Ostendee, Belgium, the 2002 event in Dublin, Ireland, the 2003 championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the 2004 meet in Brussels. USATF and NACAC team travel took him to 23 countries on all continents.

Roe was a master official and referee from the time USATF's certification program was founded in 1980. He directed a number of track & field meets, cross country meets and road races each year, including a series of a dozen summer all-comers meets in Seattle he has directed since 1969.

USATF for World Athletics