Famed AAU Chief Dr. Roger Goudy Passes Away

Goudy led the rise of the world’s largest volleyball tournament and forged a strong partnership with Orlando.

Dr. Roger Goudy Passes Away

Amateur Athletic Union and the sports tourism industry are mourning the loss of Dr. Roger Goudy, a longtime champion of youth sports.

AAU’s president and CEO since 2014, Goudy passed away on Nov. 28. He was 69 years old. Dr. Goudy is survived by his wife (Christine), three sons (Brian, Kyle, Brett), one daughter (Taylor), and two granddaughters (LilliAnn, Julia).

Iconic and fiery, Goudy dedicated his life to providing children and teenagers the opportunities to excel in sports. He spent more than 40 years on the national, state and local levels at AAU as it evolved into arguably the most influential youth sports organization in the world. 

Goudy played an integral role in mixing athletics with tourism. He was a key figure in bringing AAU sports to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando in 1996. And Goudy served on the board of directors at Visit Orlando.

Dr. Goudy “was an early believer in our community as a top destination for youth and amateur sports. AAU’s relocation created new job opportunities, but more importantly helped to support our tourism and hospitality communities with events that drove tens of thousands of visitors to our region,” says Jason Siegel, president and CEO of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission.

Continues Siegel: “The entire greater Orlando sports ecosystem owes Dr. Goudy a debt of gratitude for his leadership and foresight.”

Volleyball placed a close second to Goudy’s family as his true love. He was AAU’s Volleyball National Chair in 1992, under his tenure the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships grew into the largest volleyball tournament in the world. The tournament won a Connect Sports Tourism Excellence Award in 2017. 

In 2019, it attracted 2,800 teams and 45,000 participants, generating an economic impact of $101 million to the local economy. The event occurred this year despite the pandemic, marking one of Orlando’s first major events since the lockdown.

"My vision for youth sports is simple," Goudy once said. "To raise tomorrow's leaders on today's playing surfaces.  No matter age, background, ethnicity, race, or skill level, there should always be an attainable path for participation in amateur sports for all.”

AAU First Vice-President, Jennings “Rusty” Buchanan will assume Goudy’s duties and responsibilities. 

In a statement, AAU said: “While he can never be replaced, Dr. Goudy will always be in our hearts.”