NSIAAA Newsletter May 2021

Mike Purdy - Executive Director

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”!


Top: Dave Hoxworth, Tom Kerkman, Kayla Fischer; Bottom: Phil Truax, Joseph Frecks

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!


Top: Kevin Madsen, Larry Ostergard, Ray Bernal, Tim Hansen; Middle: Steve Hampton, Mike Kring, Lee & Bonnie Dick; Bottom: Anne & Dave Banwell, Tom Rine




Reflection – COVID ’20 -‘21

Jeremy VanAckeren - President

Well, we made it!!! What a year, truly unforgettable. Lots of school districts didn’t know if they were going to have activities this year, let alone in person learning. Speaking for the Papillion LaVista School District, we started in person day one and never wavered, for this I am thankful!! We stayed the course and our activities, for the most part, were not hindered at all.

Activities went on as scheduled, but not without some sacrifices: limited crowds, no bands, masks wearing, no concessions, 6 foot spacing in the bleachers and plenty of hand sanitizer. Our parents, teachers, coaches, and athletes all adjusted admirably. I am very thankful that I work with tremendous people who stepped up and made our facilities as comfortable as they could be.

As the year comes to an end, the next challenge becomes what the summer will look like for our athletes.

  1. Will we be wearing masks?
  2. Will there be limited groups for workouts?
  3. Will students have to complete a daily screener?

What I do know, is that our students and adults will adjust no matter what the protocols will be. The ability of our people to adjust and adapt has been tremendous. We will stay the course and we will do what we need to do to stay safe and compete in our activities.

Take care and stay healthy!!








Congratulations to our meritorious service award winners and retiring AD's!

* denotes retiring member

15 years

  • Mitch Stine
  • Dan Schinzel
  • Scott Schoneman*

20 years

  • Kevin Young*
  • Steve Neptune
  • Rich Bacon
  • Craig Schnitzler
  • John Kershaw
  • Neal Randel*
  • Nolan Beyer

25 years

  • Mark Armstrong
  • Greg Appleby

30 years

  • Jim Eberly

45 years

  • Mike Purdy*

AD Spotlight

Jake Shadley - Columbus Lakeview - District II

I was born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska and graduated from Lincoln Northeast High School where I was a three sport athlete participating in football, basketball and track. After graduating from Northeast I attended Kearney State College. During college I began working at the Youth Development Center (YCD) The Youth Development Center was the state youth correctional facility for boys. By 1985 I was teaching PE classes and helping run the recreation department at the center.

In 1987 while still working at YDC, I starting coaching high school basketball with Kyle Hoehner at Kearny High School. I had the opportunity to work with some outstanding athletes at Kearney and learned a great deal working with Coach Hoehner.

I took my first head coaching job at Shickley High School in 1992. I taught business classes and was the head boys basketball coach, assistant football coach, head 7/8 boys and girls track coach, head 7/8 boys basketball coach, FBLA sponsor, Sr. class sponsor….. You get the idea :)

In 1994 Ann and I got married and began building our lives together. We moved to Fremont in 1995. I taught business classes at Fremont Jr. High School and Ann continued her career in the medical field as an X-Ray Tech. While at Fremont, I had the opportunity to coach basketball with Joel Parks. Coach Parks was an outstanding coach and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him. During my time in Fremont I also served as a varsity assistant football coach and completed my Master’s Degree in 7-12 Administration at UNK.

In 1997, with young son Jack in tow, and baby Rachel on the way, we headed to Columbus (Lakeview). At Lakeview High School I taught business classes and I served as the head boys basketball coach, assistant football coach, and FBLA sponsor. At Lakeview I had the opportunity to once again work with some outstanding athletes and coaches. We had some success in basketball, and my long time former assistant coach, Brad Luchsinger and I, were able to take a few groups of kids to Lincoln to participate in the State tournament winning a State Championship in 2001 and finishing runner-up in 2002.

In 2008 I was presented with the opportunity to become the Activities Director and Assistant Principal at Lakeview. The catch was….. I had to give up coaching. I LOVED coaching and it was a difficult decision, but after a number of family meetings, and a few sleepless nights, I decided to accept the position of AD/AP and step aside from coaching. Currently I am in my 36th year of working in the field of education, and in my 23rd year at Lakeview.

I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many outstanding athletes, coaches, teachers, administrative assistants and administrators over the years, and to have had the opportunity to raise our children in Columbus.

Both Jack and Rachel graduated from Lakeview and have begun their journey building their careers. Jack (Doane University) teaches Health/Physical Education at Sandy Creek High School and serves as the head football coach and Rachel (University of Nebraska Kearney) is a registered nurse in Lincoln.

NSIAAA Scholarship Winners

District winners receive $250.00

District I: Male - Carson Richters, Centennial

Female - Kate Hirschfeld, Centennial

District II: Male - Riley Hoeltfelker - Logan View

Female - Valerie Uehling - Logan View

District III: Male - Benjamin Bruns - Rock County

Female - Jillian Buell - Rock County

District IV: Male - Alexander Worthing - Arthur County

Female - Sheridan Wilson - Arthur County

District V: Male - None

Female - Megan Hodgson - McCook

District VI: Male - Riley Little - Scottsbluff

Female - Emma Foote - Scottsbluff

Overall Winners for Section V. Winners receive $500.00

Male - Alexander Worthing, Arthur County

Female - Kate Hirschfield, Centennial

NSIAAA Scholarship. Winner receives $500.00

Brock Hogue, Falls City