Taking Over for a Legend
Bill Fitzgerald, CMAA
As I sit down to share a few thoughts, I am both excited and saddened. This summer, I will officially take over the responsibilities of leading the NSIAAA as the Executive Director. Although I am looking forward to the challenge and opportunity, it comes at the decision of the one and only leader of the NSIAAA, Mr. Mike Purdy, who is stepping away from the job.
Mike moved into the role sixteen years ago when many state AD associations were creating the executive director’s position. The additional duties of those groups started to expand and become more time consuming. If I remember correctly, he was still a working AD at Bellevue East at the time this occurred. Mike has been the ONLY Executive Director of the NSIAAA, so the shoes to fill are big ones. Needless to say, he took on the role to help others in our association - something Mike has always prided himself in. Our NSIAAA grew because of his leadership and direction, something I hope to be able to continue.
There was never a challenge that Mike did not face up to, even as some lingering health issues got in the way. Serving on the executive leadership of the board during this time made me appreciate all he was able and willing to do, even when most would have said enough is enough. He continued to lead when he could, and our board carried on with Mike’s guidance.
To say this was not easy might be an understatement for what Mike has gone through. We are all happy that these issues are under control and Mike and Sophie and their family will have more time upcoming for just themselves. He has given so much of himself for the NSIAAA, and will be greatly missed, but always remembered and welcomed back to our events at his choosing!
I did not anticipate taking over the NSIAAA Executive Directors position when I retired from an educational career of thirty-nine years, with 24 of those as an athletic director at two schools. In my time serving the NSIAAA on its Executive Board, I learned much in how the association helps provide support and education to our State’s AD’s. I am excited for the direction the NSIAAA is heading, while hoping to serve our state’s AD’s in one of the most difficult times in their careers. I am hopeful that more of our members get involved in the NIAAA Leadership Training Program and work to become a Certified AD (RAA, CAA, or CMAA), something that gives each more respect and knowledge in their duties and communities. We have a very active NSIAAA Board, and I look forward to serving them as we move forward in positive ways for our association.
In closing - Thank you, Mike Purdy! For leading the way, showing us the path, and pointing us in the right direction to serve not only Nebraska’s Athletic Directors, but the students we all serve in educationally based activities. Your legacy will be remembered forever, but never gone from what you have given to others over all your time in the position. I hope to be up to the challenge of taking over for “The Legend”!
DISTRICT AD'S OF THE YEAR
President Elect Newsletter
Jordan Cudney- AD, North Platte High School
As we get set to close out the 2020-2021 school year, I encourage us all to take one last look back at the year that was and remember all the ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and tears and joys we endured. This past school year was one like no other before and it was a challenging year which stretched us personally and professionally. However, before we put a bow on this school year and move on to our well deserved summer break, I challenge us all as AD’s in the state of Nebraska to do three things!
First, take some time to look back and celebrate the mere fact we and our schools made the journey, and made it successfully! By no means was it an easy course to navigate, but us and the students, staff, and community we serve have made the journey of working through all the issues related to COVID-19. Not only have we made the journey, but thanks to the NSAA, we have done so in a forward thinking and a positive way that shows that Nebraska is leading the way in how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic!
Second, may we learn from the adjustments and adaptations we made within our activities department this past year. There were many extra steps we needed to take this year to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and community. However, there are some procedures and policies we adopted this past year which can carry over in years to come which can be a benefit to our schools and the other schools we work with. Sometimes in the midst of crisis and change, there are lessons to be learned and new ways of doing things which can have a lasting impact on how we do our jobs.
Finally, may we look forward to the 2021-2022 school year with hope and enthusiasm to work towards normalcy when activities resume in the fall. Again, we learned some great things and grew in our capacities as leaders and professionals, but may we look forward to the day where the stands are full of fans cheering on our teams, the band playing the school song, and the communities we serve are back out in full force supporting our schools! I long for those days as many of you do and hopefully as we turn the page from the 2020-2021 school year to the 2021-2022 school year, some of these dreams become reality! Hats off to you all as Nebraska AD’s and know it has been a pleasure to work with you all this past year!
OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARDS
Congratulations to our meritorious service award winners and retiring AD's!
* denotes retiring member
- Mitch Stine
- Dan Schinzel
- Scott Schoneman*
- Kevin Young*
- Steve Neptune
- Rich Bacon
- Craig Schnitzler
- John Kershaw
- Neal Randel*
- Nolan Beyer
- Mark Armstrong
- Greg Appleby
- Jim Eberly
- Mike Purdy*