District IV Spotlight
The Sandhills is where I have always called home. I spent the early years of my life growing up on a variety of ranches throughout the Sandhills. However my Dad alway seemed to migrate back to Hyannis one way or another. When I was in sixth grade we moved back to Hyannis for the last time and I would spend the rest of my elementary and junior/high school years being a Longhorn.
While in high school I was a three sport athlete (football, basketball, and track and field). Football has always been my favorite sport by far and was the one that I was able to have the most success in while playing it in high school.
After high school I was not for sure what to do with my life so I decided to join the Nebraska Army National Guard not knowing at the time how big of an impact this decision would have on my life moving forward. After attending Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training, I returned to Hyannis and began working on a ranch thinking that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Shortly after coming home the unit I was in, the 1057th Transportation Company was activated to active duty. We would spend the next three months training in Ft. Carson, CO before being deployed to Iraq for twelve months.
While in Iraq I decided that going to college would be the best thing to do when I got home, so I decided to enroll at Chadron State College. I have always been a history buff so I decided I wanted to be a history teacher and coach football, my two passions in life.
When I started college I felt like something was missing in my life, I had always dreamed of playing college football. I thought about it and decided that was what I was going to do. So, I set up a meeting with Coach Auer to see if I could play football at Chadron State. He was a little hesitant at first but said if I came to all the winter workouts they would let me participate in spring ball. I did all that was expected of me and when the summer came around I was invited back to fall camp. It was a very exciting time for me, I was living my dream.
Once I graduated from Chadron State I took my first teaching job at Creek Valley High School in Chappell, NE. I was also offered the head football coaching position. In 2012 I took a Social Sciences teaching position at Pleasanton Public Schools and that same year I started working on my Masters Degree at the University of Nebraska Kearney.
The next four years would fly by and so many important things happened in my life. I married my wife Megan in 2013 and we welcomed our daughter Hadley in 2014. In 2016 our son Drake was born and I graduated from UNK with my Masters Degree in Administration.
As a family we enjoy being outdoors as much as possible. During the summer months we try to spend as many weekends as we can in our camper at the lake. During the winter anytime that I am not coaching or working I spend hunting. I enjoy waterfowl and deer hunting the most.
In conjunction with a busy personal life I am the activities director, one of the assistant football coaches, and an assistant track and field coach. I have had many opportunities while being the activities director at Pleasanton Public Schools. One of the proudest projects I have spearheaded was updating our scoreboards at the football field and in our gymnasium. Our scoreboards were over thirty years old and needed to be replaced. Such a task required a lot of community support, which led to new scoreboards being purchased and installed in the fall of 2019. These new scoreboards have really enhanced the football field and gymnasium.
I am very proud to be an educator and look forward to working with students each and every day as well as the challenges and rewards that come with being an activities director.
District III Spotlight
I have been at Ewing for twenty-eight years; the Principal at Ewing for 20 years and this will be my 25th year as the AD at Ewing and now Summerland. I taught and coached at Trenton for two years before coming to Ewing. I have coached boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball, and golf at Ewing with 2 State Titles in Boys Basketball and 3 in Golf.
My wonderful wife Kaye is a business teacher and coach at O’Neill High School and we have three grown children. Daughter Kelsey Appleby is now teaching and coaching at Norris as well as officiating volleyball and basketball, daughter Lindsey lives in Minnesota and is getting married this year, and son Justin Appleby is a Junior Secondary Math Education major at UNL.
One of the main keys to being an effective AD is to be organized and to be a good communicator. I have computer folders for every year I have been an AD and save everything to be able to go back and look at past years to make sure I am not forgetting to do something. I also try to really communicate well with my coaches to make sure we are all on the same page. The final key is to have GREAT administrative assistants, and I have had the two BEST for 28 years, Carm Thramer and Nancy Harpster!!
District II Spotlight
I graduated high school from Hastings St. Cecilia, got my undergrad at Kearney State, and have a masters from Wayne State and administration certificate from Creighton University. I
started out as a head football coach and history teacher at Stanton High School.
Following my time there, I moved on to Omaha Gross Catholic where I served as a history teacher, football coach, and track coach. I did some basketball officiating as well. I then moved into administration the last 8 years at Gross Catholic. I was hired as a Dean and Assistant Athletic Director at Westside High School 12 years ago and then was named AD a year after that.
Our coaches do a great job of creating culture in their programs. We use the E +R = 0. It works for WHS. I also try to provide as many opportunities for our coaches to grow as coaches and professionals in their field.
District I Spotlight
I've been in education now for 37 years, all at Southern Public Schools. I graduated from UNL with a BS in Education and my Masters in Administration from UNK (K - 12). I taught Business Education and coached just about all levels of sports. 17 years ago, I became an AD and a year later added the Elementary Principal position to my duties. My wife Brenda and I have been married for 40 years. We have 3 married daughters whom I was able to coach during my basketball coaching career. I have served on many NSAA committees and currently serve on the NSAA Rep Assembly for District 1. Currently, I serve as the director of both the MUDECAS Volleyball and Girls Basketball tournaments. Organization and communication are the keys to being a good Athletic Director. Constantly working with activities to make sure schedules, sites, staff, teams, officials and volunteers are available and present, ensures a successful event for the students, fans and community.
District V Spotlight
This is my 35th year in education.
I graduated from Kearney State in 1985 with a BS in Education and received my Masters in Administration from UNK (K -12) in 2005. I taught Elementary Education and coached in Venango, NE for two years before moving to Wilcox Public Schools for two years. I taught and coached for 10 years before becoming the Elementary Media Specialist in Holdrege. In 2006, I became the Activities Director at Holdrege High School.
My wife Angie and I have been married for 34 years. We have 3 married sons, whom I was able to watch compete in all their activities. We have 3 grandchildren whom we adore. My oldest son, Caleb, is a UPS driver in Kearney, NE. My twins, Alex and Jerod, are both in education. Jerod is an Elementary SPED teacher in the Omaha Westside School District, and Alex is a High School Social Studies teacher in Alma, NE.
I have served on many NSAA committees and currently serve as the NSAA District V Chairperson. It was my honor to be chosen District V AD of the year in 2016 and The NSIAAA State AD of the year in 2020.
I am proud to say that I was a member of the Nebraska National Guard for 23 years. I was involved in an armor unit as a tank commander for 18 years. We then became a Transportation Unit and I became an HET Commander (heavy equipment transporters). I retired from the National Guard in 2004 after spending 14 months in Iraq.
Some keys to being an effective AD is to be organized, be a good listener, being able to network with others, and willing to admit to your shortcomings. It is essential that you are willing to make sure schedules, sites, staff, teams, officials and volunteers will be able to help; this helps to ensure a successful event for the students, fans, and community.
Working with others in this field is extremely gratifying to me. I truly believe that being part of the NSIAAA family has allowed me to be a better person.
District VI Spotlight
I am proud to be the Athletic and Activities Director for Creek Valley Public Schools in Chappell Nebraska for the last three years. I have worked at the school for the last 7 years and been a special education teacher for 23 years. I’ve also been the head girls’ basketball coach for the last 4 years. Prior to being a high school coach I was very active in coaching pee wee sports in the area including volleyball, basketball and softball. I also was a junior high coach for volleyball, basketball and track.
When I started as the Athletic/Activities Director, I felt I had a good grasp of the position since I had been coaching in various ages and sports for many years. It didn’t take long however to realize being the AD is a whole new ball game, you have to make tough decisions that doesn't just affect one team but several teams and the people surrounding those teams. The AD has to look from the perspective of a person of authority not just how can we win tonight's game. I have learned being an Administrator you do not always make everyone happy and you have to make decisions that are best for the majority of students and coaches. These decisions may not be favored by all but it is what is best for the students and athletes and as an AD that is my goal.
In the past few years I have learned to not be afraid to ask others for help, because there is more to the job than just attending events. AD’s have to schedule games, workers, officials, and work with custodians to make facilities ready for the game as well as setting up the court, or field so everything is ready for the game. In some of the activities, I have little to no experience in running the event, so without help from my coaches, sponsors, and other administrators the event would have never happened. I also am thankful for my small school where all the staff and students are so willing to help me with anything I need. On game days it has become the new normal for me to ask students to help set up for games, which they are always willing to do. Our young elementary students love to help pick up, and it makes them feel like they are part of the team. I feel this teaches students to take pride in our school and teaches them the value of helping others. I am also blessed to have a supportive family that have spent many hours helping clean up or set up for events.
The first few years as AD I struggled at making connections with finding games or scheduling games, but after a few years of attending coach’s clinic and attending AD meetings I was able to create a great group of social connections I can reach out to. Another huge help to me was having a mentor, who was always willing to answer my questions. I think being willing to ask someone for help no matter how many years you have been AD is the most valuable advice someone gave me, because every time I have reached out for advice it has taught me something so it has made my life much easier.
The best part about being an AD is seeing the smiles on the student athlete’s face when they have won, played great or had a great performance. I started as an AD because I love being involved and have always loved coaching. The first few years my two kids participated in sports so I was always going to games, helping with the clock, or book. This position has given back to me so much more than that, it has given me a coaching family and also provided me support. At Creek Valley our coaching staff is an extremely close group who help each other, no matter what you are in charge of. It makes me feel like I’m a part of everyone’s family. In a small school everyone wears so many hats, and helps out where they can. As an AD I am able to take my love for sports and activities to pass onto the next generation. I want to thank Creek Valley for this opportunity, my husband Wade and my two kids (Gage and Catie) for always stepping up when I am in a time of need.