Lawmaker moves to lift Reggie Lewis Center from RCC control

The future of high school track and field is in jeopardy, a Waltham-based sports retailer said, due to upheaval spurred by the ouster of the director of Roxbury Community College’s Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center.

As athletic and community groups rally to prevent sweeping changes at a facility they see as central to the track community, one lawmaker is considering ways to deal with the issue legislatively.

Marathon Sports, the running retailer with 12 locations around the state, sent an email to supporters late last week decrying the recent firing of Reggie Lewis Center’s Director Keith McDermott, saying McDermott’s sacking is not in keeping with the center’s mission to be a “statewide track facility.”

The Reggie Lewis Center hosts track and field events throughout the year and has been the home of high school track and field in Massachusetts for 20 years, Marathon Sports said.

“When we see the thousands of enthusiastic, competitive, and driven young runners that come through the facility each season, it affirms to us that this sport matters. This sport makes a difference,” the company wrote in its email. “We cannot lose the RLTAC. Student athletes need this place. The sport needs this place.”

The Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association wrote in a letter to the Boston Herald last week that McDermott’s vision of the Reggie Lewis Center as a “statewide track facility” was “most likely” what caused tension between him and the RCC administration.

“In the last few years, the RCC administration has lost the real purpose of the facility and he has fought with them on several occasions when reminding them the facility is a state wide track facility,” the organization wrote.

Sen. Michael Rush of West Roxbury plans to file legislation to remove the Reggie Lewis Center from Roxbury Community College’s control and give an unspecified state agency oversight of the facility, his office said Monday morning. A timetable to have the bill filed is unclear, his office said, but the senator plans to start working on the legislation this week.