Bob Hersh’s Long List Of High-Profile Roles And Contributions To Track And Field Spanned 60 Years
INDIANAPOLIS – Robert “Bob” Hersh, a National Track & Field Hall of Fame inductee who played an integral role in formation of The Athletics Congress, the changeover to USA Track & Field, and the professionalization of track and field, died today in Long Island, New York, at NorthShore University Hospital. He was 82.
“The track and field community has lost an incredible presence and person in Bob Hersh,” said USATF CEO Max Siegel. “Bob’s contributions to track and field are truly immeasurable. He built a legacy like none other through his lifelong devotion to the sport, and that legacy will live on for generations to come.”
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend, Bob Hersh,” USATF President Vin Lananna added. “Bob’s positive impact on our sport is unrivaled. From his days as an “in stadium announcer” in Madison Square Garden to Olympic stadiums, he was a generational leader. He was a selfless contributor to our Federation at the local, collegiate, national, and global level. We lost a giant today but his global contributions for track and field will be felt forever”.
From high school manager to the upper echelon of international sport, Hersh served the sport of athletics as an official, public address announcer, writer and administrator during his more than 60 years of involvement.
Starting out as the manager of his Midwood High School team, Hersh performed the same duties at Columbia University and then moved into officiating after law school at Harvard. He played a critical role in The Athletics Congress/USA Track & Field as Records Committee chair (81-88), Rules Committee chair (89-01) and General Counsel (89-97) and was a board member from 1981-2015.
Hersh was an IAAF Council member from 1999-2015, rising to Senior Vice President in 2011, the highest IAAF position ever held by an American. In that role he also served on numerous committees and was a Technical Delegate at the Olympics and IAAF World Championship events. He was awarded the IAAF Silver Order of Merit in 2015.
As PA announcer for six Olympic Games and nine World Championships, Hersh was the English language voice of athletics for a generation. He also announced at a multitude of major U.S meets. He was named USATF’s Giegengack Award winner in 1997 and twice received President’s Awards.
In the 1980s,…