McGraw Gets the Boot at Sports Commission

Diane McGraw, executive director of the Greater Louisville Sports Commission, is out. As you remember, the ‘Ville Voice obtained an e-mail McGraw sent detailing her strained relationship with Convention and Visitors Bureau chief Jim Wood July 6.

In addition to the public embarrassment caused by the e-mail, McGraw included a reference to the PGA Championship announcement scheduled for July 30 in Louisville, news that was to have been secret until that date.

All of this occurred while McGraw was on vacation. When she returned last week, she was asked to meet with board chair Steve Higdon, according to another e-mail sent by McGraw.

When I arrived at the meeting, I was shocked when I was asked to resign and was informed that there was a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee to obtain my resignation. Steve indicated that this decision was made weeks ago, and the incidents of the previous week were not the reason.

He cited reasons that the Executive Committee felt the organization was not in a good place financially, programmatically and because of the relationship problem and was seeking new leadership.  I was also instructed that if I did not resign and sign a release by 5 pm on Tuesday, July 14th then he would call a special board meeting and ask for a vote to terminate me.

McGraw didn’t immediately sign her resignation, and quickly hired an attorney.  Her personal belongings were delivered to her home. Apparently she is now working on getting as much money as possible from the Board.

At this point, I am more than ready to leave and step aside and I do not wish to cause any harm to the organization that I have worked so hard to build up.  However I am not going to stand by and let my good reputation I have worked so hard for throughout my career or my integrity to be compromised in any way.  I also do not think it would be fair to be left unexpectedly without a job and without a proper financial resolution, particularly in this economy.

McGraw’s three-page, single-spaced letter, addressed to the entire Board, recounts accomplishments she says were completed during her tenure. McGraw’s injuries were self-inflicted. There’s nothing she could have said to salvage her job, once she sent that e-mail.

The board did the only thing it could do. The letter we obtained in July was unprofessional and put a major event at risk. Now the Sports Commision is just trying to get McGraw out of the spotlight as quickly, and inexpensively, as possible.

18 thoughts on “McGraw Gets the Boot at Sports Commission

  1. Seems like a recurring theme with these commission-type government employees:

    1) Do things that would get you fired in a millisecond in private industry

    2) Display a complete lack of reality in regard to the their work performance and competence

    3) Blame their failure on others’ political motivations

    4) Play the martyr role up

    5) Threaten to sue to keep the financial gravy train moving because they know they have no real job skills to compete in the private work force.

  2. Gary Ulmer was the man who kept her in her job for so long. Shouldn’t he be taken off the board himself? Or is he there to see nothing jeopardizes his daddy’s baseball team? Incompetence strikes again among our city leaders.

  3. She didn’t resign, she was fired. What comes around go around. Louisville will go on and succeed without her.No huge loss.

  4. If it’s any consolation McGraw I’ll be next. I haven’t done anything here in Louisville either. But I didn’t write a letter like yours, either. You must be pretty dumb. Hey, you can probably play on my offensive line!

  5. CJ says a local guy will be interim, Schmitt. I hear he stabbed McGraw in the back as he climbed all over her to get her job. He was fired at Churchill Downs because he was a bootlicker who was on cruise control. This city doesn’t know what the hell it’s doing. And if Ulmer is involved, that makes sense. He’s a moron who has his team in purple uni’s when the Reds, if I’m right, are, well, red!

  6. I’m still waiting for the baseball park. Another Louisville official with nothing but hot air to offer. Her and Jerry can move for all I care. At least Jerry did something. Maybe she should quit smoking all her husband’s dope because she sounds pretty fried. A woman should stay out of the world of sports and stay in the kitchen.

  7. I guess it wasn’t “business as usual”.

    Dumb Diane got canned. But Karl Scmitt kissed enough butts among the city leaders to get what he wanted. I give him two years. He couldn’t make it at Churchill after Meeker left. He won’t make it here.

  8. She didn’t resign, she got fired!!!!!! She got fired because the Board of GLSC got smart and realized they had a dud on their hands after paying her a big fat salary for 2 years and nothing was accomplished by her. She didn’t bring one event here. All those were brought by her predecessor. What comes around goes around. Karma is a bitch isn’t it Diane.

  9. Apparently, all the posters so far on this story are insiders who know all the details of job performance, political games, and butt-kissing at numerous agencies and companies throughout the city.

    All I know is what I read in the papers and on various web sites, and whatever this woman may or may not have done, she got embarrassed by her boss in public, apparently more than once. That gives him a black eye as well, in my opinion.

    If you have a problem with someone reporting to you, coach in private, praise in public. If that doesn’t work, coach a little more forcefully in private. If that doesn’t work, put them on an improvement plan. If that doesn’t work, fire them.

    But don’t knowingly embarrass them in public, and then say there’s “nothing wrong” when asked by them. That’s just passive-aggressive.

    One other thing I know — never send something by email that is complicated or emotional. Do it in person. If she wanted the support of her board in her relationship with Jim Wood, then she should have waited till after vacation and met with them to discuss it. In private.

    I’m not sure I see anyone coming out of this looking like an adult.

  10. Actually Kragthorpe, you have accomplished more that she did. You took a football team that had “national contender” written all over it and sunk them into the basement in one season. You took a team fresh off of their first BCS bowl win and saw to it they didn’t go to another bowl during your tenure. See? So don’t feel so bad.

  11. The Sports Commission is nothing but trouble with 50 Executives and Board members. They won’t be able to get anything done. They bring in someone retired from the “thriving” horse industry. Real smart

  12. Wow, the venom on display here is surprising. The only incompetent person in this equation is sitting at the CVB. McGraw was unwilling to take the shovel fulls of crap coming from the leadership at CVB and the posters here have the gall to say its her fault?
    Diane has brought multiple national and even world-class events to Louisville. The CVB didn’t like that she was stealling its thunder, so rather than work together to better position Louisville they fought among themselves and everyone loses.
    Diane’s e-mail missive was unprofessional and enough to justify her dismissal, can’t be argued. But when you have a Board that is too spineless to stand-up for its executive leadership, after repeatedly seeing that CVB was unwilling to play well with others, what was the alternative.
    Jim Wood should have been canned years ago, and we can only hope his head comes off in the course of all of this. Unfortunately his Board is seemingly uninterested in bettering our community and instead focused exclusively on putting more heads in beds, and nothing else that might benefit our fair city.

  13. Diane Mcgraw is a joke.Her staff brought in world class events, she didn’t. Glad to see her go.

  14. Let’s be real people…any type of executive with real executive skills knows not to send that type of letter to her board. Just plain dumb, if you ask me…

    @John Talbert, You sound like an insider!!!

  15. John Talbert, please, spare us with your lack of intelligence and start using spell check. When you can name one event she brought in that made any kind of noise here in Louisville I’ll buy you a steak at Jeff Ruby’s. I’d guess her lack of production and inability to deal with simple politics and that forgetful letter to her board was the reason for her demise. Not Jim Wood. He’s a great person and a hard worker who has put so much money into our local economy that McGraw couldn’t carry his, well, jockey strap.

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