The United States of America Deaf Track and Field (USADTF), formerly called Deaf Athletics Federation of United States (DAFUS), an affiliate of the United States of America Deaf Sports Federation (USADSF) and United States of America Track and Field (USATF), is an organization founded to help coordinate numerous activities including the development and refinement of basic skills of deaf/hard-of-hearing track athletes, the training of deaf and hearing coaches by arranging for them to attend clinics sponsored by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the selection of national championship meet sites, and the selection of athletes and coaches to represent the United States in quadrennial Summer Deaflympics as well as national and international meets.
Following the 1985 World Games for the Deaf in Los Angeles, Coach Jack Griffin and US Team athletes Owen Logue III, Tom and Betsy Bachtel, and several other athletes worked further on plans to bring fruitation the birth of DAFUS, Donalda Ammons of Gallaudet University, nevertheless made excellent progress in bringing the 1987 First National Cross Country Championship to Frederick, Maryland and the First National Championship Track Meet to Mount St. Mary’s College June 22-25, 1988 at Emmitsburg, Maryland. In 1988, the National XC Meet was held in Eugene, Oregon, followed by the 1989 Championships in Tucson, Arizona. With the Friendship Games and Second National Outdoor Championships in 1990 DAFUS has come of age.
Since 1987, several deaf and hearing coaches received Level I and Level II training at the USATF, formerly named The Athletics Congress (TAC), approved clinics. This type of training is needed to upgrade the knowledge and teaching skills of these coaches so that they become certified to coach talented athletes preparing to enter championship meets and the Summer Deaflympics.
As presently organized, the USADTF is governed by a total of eight members consisting of a chairman, a secretary and a treasurer, each serving a four-year term; four members representing each of the four regions in the country and one at-large member. At the national championship meet, all other coaches and athletes in attendance become dues-paying members and take part in the deliberations during meetings but have no voting rights. Dues are ten dollars a year at the present time.
The first chairman of DAFUS was late Tom Berg, nationally accepted among hearing and deaf coaches as a leader among national sports organizations. O.J. Logue III was the first secretary-treasurer for the DAFUS and was credited as the originator of DAFUS newsletter.
The United States of America Deaf Track and Field (then DAFUS) was established in late 1986 after many years of track/field competitions without being represented by a central governing body. There was a great need to bring together the fragmented and disorganized groups of athletes representing state schools for the Deaf, Gallaudet University, the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, and other schools and colleges having Deaf athletes among their teams. USADTF (then DAFUS) was the brain child of Jack Griffin, a nationally known hearing track and field coach from Frederick, Maryland. Through his encouragement the Federation is now a member of the USATF.
During the 1998 International HS Exchange Meet in Frederick, Maryland, the new officers took over and renamed the organization’s name from DAFUS to USADTF with full approval of members in attendance.