Organizational History of the NIAAA
Prior to the formation of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association attempts were made by a number of athletic administrators in the field to organize a national association. One 1962 inquiry through the National Education Association proved unsuccessful, and a second during the 1969 AAHPER national convention created the National Council of Secondary School Athletic Directors. NCSSAD eventually became a sub-division of NASPE and under the auspices of the American Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAPHERD). In St. Louis, Missouri, on February, 1971, the NFHS sponsored its initial National Conference for High School Directors of Athletics, with 300 in attendance and no intention to organize athletic administrators. While the NCSSAD secured memberships and appointed leadership the NFHS national conference continued to grow in attendance and services.
At the NFHS Athletic Directors Advisory Committee in February of 1976, a formal discussion regarding formation of a national organization was brought forth. The NFHS considered state athletic director associations to be sufficient representation, however entertained the grass roots communications concerned with a void of representation, and sometimes even misrepresentation of athletics and administrators at the national level. At the December, 1976 San Diego national conference a meeting was scheduled for attending athletic administrators to discuss a formal request for NFHS assistance in forming a national organization of high school athletic administrators. Subsequently the Executive Committee of the NFHS approved formation of a national athletic administrators association and made available $5,000 without reimbursement. (In 2007 the NIAAA returned $5,000 to the NFHS Foundation as a gift for the original $5,000 provided to form the NIAAA).
A 1977 organizational meeting was held in Elgin, Illinois, and a Constitution Committee was formed with assistant director of the NFHS, Tom Frederick, serving as a liaison. This committee acted as the executive board until the election of officers at the first held national conference annual meeting. Significant decisions of the Constitution Committee included: 1) establishing the name National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, 2) designating the annual national conference as the official time and place for the NIAAA’s Annual Meeting, 3) designated the quarterly magazine, Interscholastic Athletic Administration (IAA) as the official publication of the NIAAA, 4) adoption of the official NIAAA logo, 5) drafting of the association’s tentative Constitution and By-Laws, 6) selection of a slate of candidates for the first election, 7) solicitation of membership into the NIAAA through mailing of membership invitation brochures to each high school athletic director in the nation, and 8) designing of the first-year operational plan. These items were approved at the first Annual Meeting held at the national conference on December 14, 1977, in Omaha, Nebraska. In addition, the NIAAA Awards and Publications Committees were begun, and dues were set at $15 per member. First year membership was 952 charter members. In 1982 the NIAAA became a 501c3 association as designated by the IRS.
As an affiliate of the NFHS the NIAAA office moved from Elgin, Illinois in May, 1979 to Kansas City, Missouri; and again in February, 2000, when the NFHS relocated in Indianapolis, Indiana. In July, 1989, Frank Kovaleski succeeded Frederick as the NFHS liaison to the NIAAA and for over 15 years was a key figure in developing the foundations of the NIAAA. Key programs for the NIAAA began in 1988 with Certification, followed by the Leadership Training Program offering the initial course in 1996. Kovaleski became the National Director in 2003, and an employee of NIAAA. Upon Frank’s retirement, Bruce Whitehead was named to the position as first NIAAA Executive Director in January, 2005. Also in 2005 the NIAAA assumed responsibility for all organizational functions separate from the NFHS while continuing to partner in future endeavors. This same year Mike Blackburn became the first NIAAA Associate Executive Director. In 2007 the NIAAA established its own offices at 9100 Keystone Crossing, Suite 650 in Indianapolis.
2017 marks the 40th year since the NIAAA established itself as a professional organization for those who lead education-based athletic programs in our nation’s schools. This anniversary finds the NIAAA with 10,300 members, a budget of over $ 1.8 million, AdvancEd – North Central Association accreditation, a curriculum of 45 courses via the Leadership Training Institute, co-host of a national conference, a registered certification program offering 5 different certifications, and most importantly, supported by leaders in the field, volunteers nationwide, and those who desire to grow and develop as a professional each day.