By Duncan Mackay

Harvey Schiller has been appointed President and chairman of Team USA Handball ©Getty ImagesDecember 20 - Former United States Olympic Committee (USOC) executive director Harvey Schiller has been elected as the new President and chairman of USA Team Handball, it was announced today. 

Besides the USOC, Schiller has held several senior positions in America, including Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, President of Turner Sports and chairman and chief executive of YankeeNets, owner of the New York Yankees baseball club.

He is also a former President of the International Baseball Federation. 

USA Team Handball were appointed as the sport's national governing body by the USOC in 2006 following a series of disputes with the United States Team Handball Federation.

The US have not competed in the Olympics since Atlanta 1996, the last time America held the Summer Games, when they finished ninth.

The hope is that the appointment of Schiller will signal an upturn in the sport's fortunes in the US. 

Harvey Schiller was executive of the United States Olympic Committee between 1989 and 1994 ©AFP/Getty ImagesHarvey Schiller was executive of the United States Olympic Committee between 1989 and 1994 ©AFP/Getty Images

"I am pleased to be able to take this role and assist the new leadership of USA Team Handball in the re-organisation of what is a fun, exciting, cost-effective global team and training sport," said Schiller, executive director of the USOC between 1989 and 1994. 

"Team Handball has been successful on a worldwide level for decades and we are looking forward to building effective grassroots programmes, as well as recruiting former professional and collegiate athletes who are looking to stay involved with an Olympic team sport competitive at the highest levels.

"It will be an exciting challenge for us as we grow the game to championship levels in world, Pan American, and Olympic competitions."

Schiller will combine his new role with the other positions he holds, including vice-chairman of the America's Cup and chief executive of Schiller Management Group.

The immediate targets set for Schiller include restoring "dignity and traction the sport's faithful, energise a growing base of players and create an all-new model for international success" with the aim of qualifying for Rio 2016. 

"This is a landmark day for our organisation," said Matt Van Houten, chief executive of USA Team Handball.

"Dr. Schiller's leadership and successful business acumen will be critical to our growth going forward as we re-launch both the grassroots and the competitive side of our sport in the next year.

"We feel that we can position ourselves correctly to be a very effective and forward-thinking NGB (National Governing Body) going forward for the next decade, and having Dr. Schiller's counsel and strategic leadership is critical for us."

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