54th National Athletic Directors Conference to be Held in Orlando

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 12, 2023) — The 54th National Athletic Directors Conference (NADC) will be held Friday through Tuesday (Dec. 15-19) at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The conference – which returns to Orlando for the eighth time – will host nearly 3,000 athletic administrators, spouses, guests and exhibitors from across the United States. The eight trips to Orlando in NADC history make the city the most visited location for the event.

The country’s largest meeting of high school athletic directors is co-sponsored by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) of Indianapolis.

The NADC begins Friday, with several NIAAA committee meetings, as well as registration at 3:30 p.m. In addition to networking opportunities, NIAAA Leadership Training Institute (LTI) courses will provide professional development opportunities for attendees. The first session of LTI classes begins at 6 p.m., Friday and the final session takes place at 4:00 p.m., Monday.

Full conference festivities begin Saturday with registration at 8:30 a.m. in the Crystal/Grand Registration. A tour of the nearby ESPN Wide World of Sports facility and the NIAAA Endowment Golf Tournament highlight the morning’s activities.

The Opening General Session will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 16. The keynote speaker for this year’s opening session will be Jon Gordon, a well-renown speaker whose engaging talks and principles have influenced numerous leaders and teams in professional sports, business, healthcare and education.

The Closing General Session at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, December 19, features keynote speaker Jody Urquhart. Urquhart is a motivational keynote speaker and participates in over 100 events per year with a simple mission – to eagerly empower worn-out professionals with humor, hindsight and hallelujahs. Her unyielding ambition fueled her into the world of stand-up comedy, a place where she learned to roll with the punch lines and turn life's lemons into delicious lemonade.

The first NADC workshop session gets underway at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 17. There are 40 scheduled workshops across five sessions that cover topics including Sports Psychology, Inclusion of Students with Disabilities, Student SID Programs, Flag Football, Navigating Tough Conversations, Innovative Fundraising, Increasing Multi-sport Participation, as well as multiple sessions on mental health for athletic directors and students.

The Conference Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. EST on December 18 and the Conference Banquet at 6:00 p.m. EST on December 19 will be streamed live on the NFHS Network at no cost. Following are the links for each event:

Luncheon –  https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt4ba81b9c1a

Banquet – https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtfc5e5a299f

At the Conference Luncheon on Monday afternoon, eight athletic directors will be recognized with NFHS Citations for their contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels.

The 2023 award recipients are Jen Brooks, CMAA, athletic director, Ursuline Academy, St. Louis, Missouri; Lisa Corprew, CMAA, student activities coordinator, Bayside High School, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Steve Janski, CMAA, district director of athletics, Fayetteville (Arkansas) Public Schools; Todd Livingston, CMAA, athletic administrator, South Portland (Maine) High School; Jeff Lowell, CAA, athletics and activities director, Bellevue (Washington) School District: Lauren Otero, CMAA, project manager of athletic facilities, Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa, Florida; Pamela Sloan, CAA, athletics and activities director, Clark County School District, Las Vegas, Nevada; and Todd Sobrilsky, CMAA, retired athletic director, Waukesha (Wisconsin) South High School.  

Eleven athletic administrators have earned NIAAA Distinguished Service Awards, which will be presented during the Conference Banquet on Tuesday, December 19. This year’s recipients include Ronald Allen, CMAA, retired athletic administrator of Hedgesville (West Virginia) High School; Stephanie Blackwell, CMAA, athletics coordinator for Union Public Schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Carlos Cave, CMAA, athletic director of Beaufort County School District in Bluffton, South Carolina; Ron Dolphin, CAA, athletic director of Grand County High School in Moab, Utah; Kelly Fish, CMAA, assistant head of school for advancement and strategic initiatives at Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood, Tennessee; Mike Gatley, CMAA, athletic director at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood, New Jersey; Joe Keller, CAA, executive director for West Central District III in Lakewood, Washington; Ryan Larson, CMAA, athletics/activities director of Kidder) County School District in Steele, North Dakota; Dave Preheim, CAA, director of athletics at Elkhart (Indiana) Concord High School; Russell Wambles, CMAA, athletic director at Orlando (Florida) Olympia High School; Mark White, CMAA, athletic administrator for Presque Isle (Maine) High School and Middle School.

Three other individuals will receive NIAAA awards during Tuesday’s banquet. Lanness Robinson, CMAA, district athletic administrator for Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida, is the recipient of the NIAAA Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award; Mike Ellson, CMAA, retired athletic director of Christ Presbyterian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, and current executive director of the Tennessee Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, is the recipient of the Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence; and Rich Barton, CMAA, associate executive director of the NIAAA, is the recipient of the NIAAA Award of Merit.

The induction of seven athletic directors into the NIAAA Hall of Fame will conclude the banquet and conference. Those being recognized this year include Rich Bechard, CMAA, former longtime athletic director from Kansas and Missouri; Carol Dozibrin, CMAA, retired athletic administrator from New Hampshire and current executive director of the New Hampshire Athletic Directors Association; Karl Heimbach, CMAA, retired athletic administrator from Rockville, Maryland; Karen Leinaar, CAA, retired athletic director from Michigan and current executive director of the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association; Larry Moklestad, CAA, retired athletic director from Boone, Iowa; Pete Shambo, retired athletic administrator from Rochester, New York; and Greg Smith, CMAA, former longtime athletic director from Oregon and Wisconsin.

About the National Federation of State High School Associations

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The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,800 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including almost 8 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.

About the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association

The NIAAA is the professional organization for interscholastic athletic administrators. The association is accredited by AdvancED and North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the NIAAA promotes and enhances the profession of athletic administration for high school and middle school athletic administrators. Since 1977, the NIAAA has served those who lead education-based athletic programs in the nation’s schools. With current individual membership of more than 12,000, the NIAAA consists of members from athletic administrator associations in the 50 states, and the District of Columbia, as well as over 40 international countries. Through its 54-course curriculum, and four levels of certification, the NIAAA is the national leader in providing professional development for athletic administrators, directors, coordinators, and supervisors, as well as those serving in assistant principal/athletic director, or activity/athletic director combined roles that lead school-based sports programs. While providing best-practices and serving as a resource for safe and plentiful participation opportunities for student-athletes, the NIAAA places further focus on member benefits, standards, communication, outreach, and recognition, while emphasizing the exchange of ideas among athletic administrators throughout the nation and the world. NIAAA champions the profession of athletic administration through education opportunities, advocating ethics, developing leaders and fostering community. For more information, visit the NIAAA website at www.niaaa.org.

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