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John Gillis Announces Retirement from NFHS Staff

By NFHS on August 08, 2019 nfhs news Print

John Gillis, who has served on the administrative staff of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for 30 years, has announced his intent to retire, effective at the end of this month.

Gillis, a native of South Dakota, joined the NFHS staff in 1989 in Kansas City to administer the National Federation’s High School Game of the Week on SportsChannel America, but he spent the majority of his years in the Publications and Communications Department, where he was a writer, editor, assistant director and head of the internship program.

Among his notable accomplishments, Gillis was editor of the National High School Sports Record Book for 15 years and editor of the NFHS Officials’ Quarterly magazine for 16 years. He was responsible for starting the highly successful Court and Field Diagram Guide in 1992 and served as editor of that publication for 20 years. He also was editor of Interscholastic Athletic Administration magazine for several years, and he was a writer and assistant editor of NFHS News and High School Today magazine. 

Since 2008, Gillis has administered the National High School Spirit of Sport Award program, which annually recognizes individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics. He also has been responsible for the National High School Heart of the Arts Award, which was started in 2014 to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities.

After serving as associate director of the Development Department for several years, Gillis has been associate director of video services the past two years. In that role, he has assisted with video services at the National Athletic Directors Conference and NFHS Summer Meeting, as well as an in-house video program.

“John made tremendous contributions to numerous NFHS publications during his 22 years in our department,” said Bruce Howard, NFHS director of publications and communications. “His work with developing the Court and Field Diagram Guide and our internship program, and his expansion of the Record Book continue to benefit the NFHS today. We will miss his passion for high school sports, but we wish him the best as he moves on with the next step in his life.”  

Gillis, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of South Dakota, was a staff writer for the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader newspaper and director of public information for Dakota State College in Madison, South Dakota, for six years before joining the NFHS staff. He began his professional career in his hometown of Mitchell, South Dakota, as an account executive for the Mitchell Daily Republic newspaper and as director of creative services and continuity for KDLT-TV in Mitchell.

Gillis, who is the second-longest tenured administrator in the history of the NFHS, plans to return to the Kansas City area at the end of this month.