The 52nd National Athletic Directors Conference (NADC) will be held Friday through Tuesday (December 10-14) at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. The conference – which returns as an in-person event after being held virtually in 2020 – will attract more than 1,900 athletic administrators, spouses, guests and exhibitors from across the United States.
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 Conference Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. MST on December 13 and the Conference Banquet at 6:00 p.m. MST on December 14 will be streamed live on the NFHS Network at no cost. Following are the links for each event:
The NADC begins Friday, with several NIAAA committee meetings, as well as early registration at 4:00 p.m. At 7:00 p.m. on Friday, a special awards program will celebrate the 2020 NIAAA award winners and NIAAA Hall of Fame inductees who were unable to be honored with a ceremony last year.
Full conference festivities begin Saturday with registration at 8:30 a.m. in the Convention Center Hall F Lower Lobby, and the Opening General Session will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 11.
The keynote speaker for this year’s opening session will be Kevin Brown, whose unconventional path to business and personal success has taught him that winning in business and in life requires anything but conventional thinking. Since 2017, he has focused full-time on his mission to share “The HERO Effect®” message with as many people and organizations as possible. The HERO Effect® is a simple philosophy that separates world-class organizations and high-performance people from everybody else, and is the topic of Brown’s best-selling book “The HERO Effect – Being Your Best When it Matters the Most”. Brown has received numerous honors, including being named one of the ‘Best Keynote Speakers of 2019’ by NorthStar Meetings Group and one of the ‘Top 41 Motivational Speakers Who Can Energize Any Sales Team’ by ResourcefulSelling.
The Closing General Session at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, features keynote speaker Col. Jennifer Block. Block is in her first year as executive director of athletics at the Air Force Academy, where she is the senior government official in Air Force athletics. Block is returning to Air Force athletics after serving as the director of athletics from April 2018 to February 2019, becoming the first female athletics director at a Division I service academy. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Block entered the Air Force after graduating from the Academy in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in management. While at the Academy, she was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball and was named the team’s most valuable player in 1991. Block was also a team captain, three-time all-conference selection and earned all-region honors. She ranked fourth in career solo blocks (205), second in career-assisted blocks (495), fourth in career total blocks (700), seventh in games played (594) and ninth in career kills (1,305) when she graduated.
The first NADC workshop session gets underway at 8:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 12. There are 40 scheduled workshops across five sessions that cover topics including mentoring; facilities improvement; name, image and likeness issues; fan behavior; student leadership; working with budget constraints; and student-athlete anxiety and mental health.
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 12:30 p.m., Saturday and the final session takes place at 4:00 p.m., Monday.
At the Conference Luncheon on Monday afternoon, 16 athletic directors will be recognized with NFHS Citations for their contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels. Eight of the recipients are 2020 honorees, who will join the 2021 recipients in being recognized at the conference.
Those receiving NFHS Citations for 2020 will be Bill Fitzgerald,CMAA, retired athletic director, Fremont, Nebraska; Tol Gropp, CMAA, athletic director, Timberline High School, Boise, Idaho; Matt Hensley, CMAA, assistant principal of extracurricular activities, Mahomet-Seymour High School; Mahomet, Illinois; Paige Hershey, CMAA, executive director of athletics, Spring Branch Independent School District, Houston, Texas; Mike Hunter, CMAA, athletic director, Provo (Utah) High School; Joe Kimling, CAA, athletic director, Madeira (Ohio) City Schools; Susan Robbins, CMAA, athletic director, Gray New Gloucester High School, Gray, Maine; and Russell Wambles, CMAA, former athletic director, Apopka, Florida.
The 2021 recipients are David Boyack, CAA, athletic director, Maple Mountain High School, Spanish Fork, Utah; Deran Coe, CMAA, director of athletics, Wake County Schools, Cary, North Carolina; James Davis, CAA, retired athletic director, Belmont, Massachusetts; Dwayne Johnson, CMAA, athletic director, Port Angeles (Washington) High School; Lisa Langston, CMAA, district director of athletics, Fort Worth (Texas) Independent School District; Gary Ray, CAA, retired athletic director and state administrator, Fayetteville, West Virginia; Meg Seng, CMAA, athletic administrator, Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Kevin Simmerman, CMAA, assistant principal/athletic director, Blue Valley West High School, Overland Park, Kansas.
Eleven athletic administrators have earned NIAAA Distinguished Service Awards, which will be presented during the Conference Banquet on Tuesday, December 14. This year’s recipients include Jen Brooks, CMAA, athletic director, St. Louis (Missouri) Ursuline Academy; Tom Conte, CAA, former athletic director, Saint Johnsbury (Vermont) Academy; Tom Dolan, CAA, associate director, Virginia High School League; Scott Drabczyk, CMAA, director of athletics, Horizon (Florida) High School; David Huff, CMAA, athletic director, Greenfield (Iowa) Nodaway Valley High School; Tim Jackson, CMAA, director of athletics, Clark County School District (Nevada); Wendy Malich, CAA, director of athletics, Franklin Pierce School District (Washington); Michael Roy, CMAA, athletic administrator, Vicksburg (Michigan) Community Schools; Jeff Sitz, CMAA, director of athletics, Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Wisconsin Lutheran High School; Joey Struwe, CMAA, athletic director, Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Lincoln High School; and Larry Waters, CMAA, former athletic administrator, Albuquerque (New Mexico) Public Schools.
Three other individuals will receive NIAAA awards during Tuesday’s banquet. Tim Graham, CMAA, athletic director at Tumwater High School in Tumwater, Washington, is the recipient of the NIAAA Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award; Gary Stevens, CMAA, director of athletics and student activities at Thornton Academy in Saco, Maine, is the recipient of the Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence; and Annette Scogin, CMAA, former athletic administrator from Alabama, is the recipient of the NIAAA Award of Merit.
The induction of 10 athletic directors into the NIAAA Hall of Fame will conclude the banquet and conference. Those being recognized this year include the late David Balmer, longtime athletic director of Hartland (Wisconsin) Arrowhead Union High School; the late Bruce Brown, CMAA, former athletic director Uniontown (Ohio) Lake High School and first executive director of the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association; Michael Garvey, CMAA, retired athletic director, most recently at Kalamazoo (Michigan) Hackett Catholic Prep; Hugh McReynolds, CMAA, retired athletic director of Logan County High School in Russellville, Kentucky; Martin O’Hern, CMAA, retired athletic director and current executive director of the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association; Craig Perry, CMAA, former athletic administrator of Grand Forks (North Dakota) Public School and associate director of the Minnesota State High School League; James Piccolo, retired athletic director of Stanwood (Washington) High School; Bob Rossi, CMAA, retired supervisor of athletics at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, New Jersey; Larry Schwenke, CMAA, retired athletic administrator at Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) High School; and Sister Lynn Winsor, CMAA, athletic director of Phoenix (Arizona) Xavier College Preparatory.