Long-time USATF official and leader Bill Roe passed away Saturday, February 29 at age 69. Roe served as President of USA Track & Field (USATF) for two terms from 2000-2008. 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 organization's Board of Directors from 1986 until 2009. He became one of three vice presidents in 1988, 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 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, and national 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.
He was an international team leader or coach nine times and 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, Belgium. Roe worked closely with the cross country international teams and was a U.S. delegate to the IAAF World Congress in 2001, 2003, 2005 & 2007. He 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.
Roe was born in Seattle on September 19, 1950 and attended Nathan Hale High School and the University of Washington. In 1985, he moved to Bellingham to pursue an advanced degree in education, and was a graphic designer/desktop publisher for Western's Woodring College of Education from 1989 until mid-2002. Since then, he freelanced in graphics and publishing in Bellingham and Seattle, and in event management throughout the Northwest, while continuing to coach at WWU.
Services are pending.
From local races to national championships, Bill was omnipresent in the running community. As USATF President, he rang up thousands of frequent flyer miles, leaving local events, to support his duties with the national office. Bill founded and carried the Summer All-comers meets for over 50 years, providing opportunities for our best athletes, weekend warriors, and those runners, young & old who just wanted to participate.
Bill was in constant motion, a tireless worker and planner. His dedication to the All-Comers meets was symbolic of how generous he was with his time, and how passionate he was for sharing the sport with others.
Bill Roe, forever announcer for the Dash, passed away on Saturday, March 3, while attending an international cross country meet in Victoria B.C.
I met Bill many times to set up Start/Finish lines, usually in the dark. He was almost always the first one onsite so he could unload his van. The van was an example of how Bill “over-prepared”. Those of you who worked with him at events know that in his van was everything (and more) that might be needed, including small cones, pace signs, his printer, laminator, hot water dispenser, flagging, and assorted boxes of supplies.
Bill's first love was cross-country. With that in mind, the St. Patricks’ Day Dash will establish a scholarship through the Pacific NW Track & Field Association Youth Cross Country program in his name. Please sign up to support the Bill Roe PNTF Youth Cross Country Scholarship, and help our young athletes succeed at local and national competitions. $20 of every registration from now until Dash Day will go to the scholarship fund.
There is also a Donation Only field on the registration site where you can contribute any amount. 100% of those donations will go to PNTF on behalf of Bill’s Cross Country Scholarship.
We will recognize him at the Bill Roe Memorial Start Line at the St. Patrick's Day Dash on Sunday March 15. And, as Bill would want it, we will serve up a toast to him in the Beer Garden!
We will miss Bill. He was a mentor, an inspiration, and a friend. There is going to be a huge gap in the running world with him gone.