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NSIAAA NEWSLETTER February 2021

Click the link below for the Spring conference program (PDF)

2020-2021 award winners

AD's of the Year

  • District I AD of Year - Kathi Wieskamp, LPS
  • District II AD of Year - Tom Kerkman, Westside
  • District III AD of Year - Kayla Fischer, Rock County
  • District IV AD of Year - Phil Truax, Lexington
  • District V AD of Year - Joseph Frecks, Wauneta-Palisade
  • District VI AD of Year - David Hoxworth, Scottsbluff
  • State AD of the Year - Kevin Simmerman, Lincoln North Star
  • Middle School/Asst. AD of Year - Al Shirley, Lexington, District 4

Outstanding Service Awards

  • Tom Rine, Waverly, District 1
  • Dave and Ann Banwell, Lincoln, District 1
  • Ray Bernal, Lexington, District 4
  • Larry Ostergard, Gothenburg, District 4
  • Tim Hansen, Cozad, District 4
  • Kevin Madsen, Kearney, District 4
  • Steve Hampton, Kearney, District 4
  • Mike Kring, Axtell, District 5
  • Lee and Bonnie Dick, Scottsbluff, District 6

Meritorious Service Awards

  • Phil Truax, Lexington
  • Scott Schoneman, Holdrege

Award of High Distinction

Mike Purdy, NSIAAA Executive Director

NIAAA State Award of Merit

Nate Larsen, Hooper Logan View

District I Spotlight: Marty Hingst - Milford

I grew up in Scribner, Nebraska, and was a 3 sport athlete (football, basketball and track) at Scribner High School. I attended Wayne State College where I played football and met some lifelong friends! I transferred to Midland Lutheran College and graduated in 1973. I continued college classes and did graduate work at University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I married Charlene Muller, my HS sweetheart, during the college years . We were married 50 years until her death last spring after a long illness with Parkinson’s and dementia. We have 3 children. Heather is an entrepreneur and lives with her husband Chris in Omaha, Heidi and her husband Nate live in Fort Collins and son Kyle is an architect and he and his wife Kaisha live outside Atlanta. We’ve been blessed with 11 grandchildren.

In 1973, I started at Elwood HS where I taught Business /Speech and coached Football and Girls Track , which won the Class D Girls Track Championship. I then spent 5 years at Clay Center HS where I was Head Coach of Football, Wrestling and Boys Track. In 1979, I moved to Milford as the Head Football Coach, in 1981 was named the Boys Track coach. Collectively, the Football teams I’ve coached have won 269 games, with 229 coming at Milford, have qualified for the state playoffs 18 times, have been to the semifinals 5 times and have been C-1 State Champions twice. (1995 and 1996). I’ve been fortunate to coach in the Shrine Bowl twice: Assistant Coach in 1992 and Head Coach in 1999.

Since 1983. I’ve been the AD at Milford. In those 38 years, we’ve added JH Football, Cross Country and Softball, built two tracks and one gym. We’ve had 8 NSAA Team Champions during that time, all awesome groups of kids to win State Titles. Probably one of our best years was in 2010-2011 when we had Semi-finals teams in Football and Boys Basketball plus Runners up in Boys Cross Country. Those efforts combined brought Milford a runner up in the Boys NSAA US Cellular Cup.

I feel very fortunate to have worked with great athletes, coaches, administrative assistants and administrators. It’s always about the quality of people you can be surrounded with and we have a lot of good people at Milford. I’m particularly proud that I had the same three football assistants (Tony Muller, Glen Pasho and Tim Fichtner) for 33 years from 1983 to 2016. That has to be a record doesn’t it?

I’m just amazed at the time my fellow AD’s in the Southern Nebraska Conference have taken to work through the COVID Pandemic. Extra meetings, sharing thoughts, countless additional hours, great people going the extra miles to make sure our competitors are safe. If the SNC is doing this—I know the rest of the AD’s in the state are doing the same.

I’m just proud to be part of a group that does so much for the sake of students- both our own and our competitors!

coaching coaches

Jeremy VanAckeren - NSIAAA President

This is currently my 27th year in education and I spent 16 of those years as a teacher and a coach at three different schools. I had my successes and my failures along the way and learned a lot by myself during that time period. As I am in the middle of my 8th year as an Activities Director, I can tell you that if I would ever get back into coaching, I would be a much better coach. Spending time at practices and games has made me reflect on my time as a coach.

Scouting reports, teaching fundamentals, situational strategies and in game adjustments are all important parts of coaching. However, there are three tools that I believe are ESSENTIAL for any coach at any level. If a coach can be great and consistent with these three tools, team success will happen!

  1. Treat your athletes with respect – PRAISE IN PUBLIC, CRITICIZE IN PRIVATE. Coach hard without berating and bring them back up after you have coached hard. Make it a point to talk to every player at every practice.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate – DON’T LEAVE ANYTHING TO CHANCE. Make sure you are talking to kids about where they stand and talking to parents about upcoming games, practices and other events. Social Media can be a powerful tool when it comes to communicating – there are no excuses for parents and players not to know.
  3. Self-Reflect/Evaluate – TOUGHEST THING TO DO AS A COACH. Too many coaches get stuck in their ways and don’t want to change their philosophy and they are getting the same results year after year. Be willing to step back and take a look in the mirror, both during the season and after the season. Never be satisfied.

Self-Reflect/Evaluate – TOUGHEST THING TO DO AS A COACH. Too many coaches get stuck in their ways and don’t want to change their philosophy and they are getting the same results year after year. Be willing to step back and take a look in the mirror, both during the season and after the season. Never be satisfied.

As leaders, it is our job to discuss things like these with our coaches and let them know how important these three tools are. I think coaches often get caught up in the X’s and O’s and forget about the other parts of coaching. As a coach, take time at the end of every day and reflect: how did I do today? Set weekly goals for you and your assistants.

Keep grinding everybody, this is a unique year with many challenges. Meet the challenges head on and win each day!! STAY MENTALLY TOUGH!!

District II Spotlight: Rochelle Rohlfs - Marian

My educational career began in 1989 at Marian High School as a Math teacher and Varsity Volleyball coach and Assistant Track Coach. I had tenures of being Head Soccer Coach for five years and Head Track Coach for seven years. In 2012, I became athletic director/assistant principal at Marian while continuing to coach volleyball. In 2014, I retired from coaching volleyball and have immersed myself into my administrative role at Marian.

One initiative that has enhanced my role as an athletic director is to begin a student-athlete leadership group called Crusaders Elevating Others (CEO). Teaching our athletes to be leaders on and off the court and sharing ideas with their peers from other sports in our school has proven to pay off on all of our sports teams. There are several books and people who are excellent resources in this field that provide a framework for us to use with our student-athletes. If this is something you or your school has not considered yet, I highly recommend it!

District III Spotlight: Bob Hayes - Ponca

Teaching and coaching career at Ponca Public Schools - started in 1980 when I taught math, science, physical education and coached numerous sports throughout the years. Today I am the Ponca Public Schools Elementary Principal, Athletic Director and Girls Basketball Coach.

  • Head girls’ basketball coach 5 years record 100 – 27!
  • Ponca head boys’ basketball 22 yrs (368/152)
  • Coached track 25 yrs
  • Coached football 15 yrs
  • Athletic Director (31 years)
  • Elementary principal (17 yrs)
  • Qualified for girl’s state tournament 3 of my 4 years!
  • Qualified for boy’s state tournament 6 times.
  • Boys basketball state champion 2007 and runner up in 2000.
  • Girls Lewis and Clark conference champions 2 of 4 years
  • Lewis and Clark boys’ basketball regular season conference champions 12 times
  • Lewis and Clark boys’ basketball regular season conference champions 10 times
  • NE District III Athletic director of the year (2014).
  • NE basketball coach of the year in 2007.
  • I contribute my success to working with great athletes and great assistant coaches.
  • I am proud of the close relationship I have maintained with former athletes.

Wife: Kristie, 3 children and 9 grandchildren, BJ and wife Bridey of Sioux City, Iowa (Avery, Carter and Harper); Twin daughters: Brittnie and her husband Matt Gawart of Eire, Colorado (Hayden and their twin daughters, Kennedie and Kenzie); Bridgett and her husband Eric Ojeda of Lincoln, NE (Jude, Jace and Lydia)

I try hard to work with the coaches on our staff to give them everything they need to be successful. We fundraise, work with our athletic boosters, and seek out sponsors to help fund our athletic programs. We have been fortunate to have outstanding athletes and coaches. Giving them the tools to be successful is a responsibility I take very seriously

executive director report

Mike Purdy - NSIAAA

The start of the Second Semester has been a good indicator that the school year is moving in the right direction. The Covid-19 pandemic has been a very challenging endeavor for all the schools in the nation and Nebraska is no different. I am proud of the way that you have met the challenges and moved your activities in the right direction. Hopefully with the protocols that have been in place and the development of vaccines the pandemic can be overcome.

The NSIAAA has been working through the pandemic by planning and communicating with our membership through Zoom meetings, emails and newsletters. The Board has met twice this year in Kearney to work on the Strategic Plan and develop a schedule for our March Awards ceremony in conjunction with the March Athletic Directors Conference. In regards to the Strategic Plan, Steve Throne, Millard South, chaired a committee of board members and members from each district to develop a plan for the NSIAAA. The plan is still in development and will be presented to the membership soon. The Board has a plan for the March Conference, to be held in Kearney at the Holiday Inn, March 7-8, 2021.

This year the Awards Ceremony will be held in Kearney in conjunction with the conference. We hope that you are able to attend this year and then plan on returning to the normal conference to be held in November of 2021. Board members will be sending out a notice about the March Conference and Awards Luncheon. If you plan to attend please contact your Board member and let them know you will be attending. This year's Award Winners will be listed in the Newsletter. We’d also like to recognize those who may be retiring at the end of this school year, if you plan to do so please let your District Representative know ASAP.

In regards to the Award Ceremony a reminder to members that the NSIAAA has a program where you as an Athletic Director can award an Outstanding Service Award to a member of your school community. You can obtain the award from Awards Unlimited, contact Tim Morevac and order and purchase the award sponsored by the NSIAAA.

A reminder for members is the NIAAA and NSIAAA Scholarship Applications are presently on line at www.nsiaaa.org and www.niaaa.org. The Applications are due February 28, 2021 and can be sent to Mike Purdy, CAA, 808 Brenton Ave., Bellevue, NE 68005 or emailed to mpurdy9998@cox.net.

This year the NIAAA National Conference was to be held in Tampa, Florida. However due to the pandemic the conference was held virtually. The attendance for the virtual conference was very successful. The NIAAA leadership did a fantastic job of putting together a great agenda and easy to follow format. The conference had all the offerings that the normal conference would have just attended by Zoom, even the vendor sessions were held by zoom. The conference had two outstanding general session speakers in Tony Dungy and Derrick Brooks. Fifty one leadership training courses and 36 workshops, plus the Section meetings and Delegate Assembly. The only thing missing was the Award recognition dinners and the award winners were recognized and will be honored at the 2021 conference in Denver. Nebraska was honored to have several members receive recognition. Mark Armstrong, Lincoln Southwest, received the NIAAA Award of Merit, Steve Throne, Millard South received the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award, Bill Fitzgerald, Fremont received the NFHS Citation Award and Nate Larsen, Logan View received the State Award of Merit.

One final note that I always like to mention is that if you are interested in serving on the NSIAAA Board, please complete an application for the board found on the NSIAAA website. We will have a position for the vice president position, District I and IV representatives are up for election.

District IV Spotlight: Alan Frank - Adams Central

I grew up in Eldorado, Neb., and attended Harvard Public School. Sports were a huge focus as I participated in football, basketball and baseball. Following graduation in 1995, I attended UNL to pursue an education degree. During college, I interned with the NSAA and was a volunteer boys basketball coach at Norris - which were both great experiences.

My first position was at Gering High School teaching Industrial Tech and I was an assistant football and basketball coach. The following year, the head boys basketball job at Minatare High School opened up and I accepted the job. While at Minatare, I was head boys basketball, assistant football, head JH girls volleyball, head JH girls basketball, head JH girls track and Activities Director while teaching six periods.

In 2006, I went to Guernsey-Sunrise School in Guernsey, Wyo. I was the head football coach and was extremely fortunate to be involved with great assistant coaches and players as we won the 2006 1A State Championship and finished as 2007 1A State Runner Up. I was named Wyoming Coaches Association Class 1A and Scottsbluff Star-Herald Football Coach of the Year in 2006 and coached in the 2007 Wyoming Shrine Bowl.

Following an eventual plan to return to Nebraska, I left Guernsey to become the 6-12 Principal/AD in Hay Springs. It was a great experience, but a larger opportunity that would allow our family to move closer to home became available in Lexington. I was the Lexington AD from 2010-2015. From there I moved to my current position at Adams Central.

Some of the major projects I have worked on with our school include facility design of new buildings, updating signage in the district, and the revamping of our weight room into a state of the art facility. I credit much of our successes on the field and court to our current weight program. I also greatly appreciate the many activity directors across the state that have mentored and allowed me to steal many ideas on how to build a solid activities program.

I spend most of my time attending games, but when I have free time, I enjoy hanging out with family. My wife teaches 3rd grade and we have three daughters (Junior, Freshmen and 1st grader) who all attend Adams Central.

District V Spotlight: Brad Nelson - Axtell

This marks my 32nd year in public education. I started my teaching career in 1989 at Santee Public School. While there, I was able to teach 7-12 Social Studies and coach football, girl’s basketball and track. After two years, we moved to Axtell, and I have taught here for 30 years. In Axtell, I serve as the 9-12 Social Studies teacher, Athletic Director, head volleyball coach, and head girl’s track coach.

My wife of 34 years serves as the village clerk in Axtell, and we have two adult children. Our oldest daughter, Ashley, teaches first grade and coaches volleyball in Axtell. Our youngest daughter, Shala, works at Adams in Broken Bow. Ashley has two children, Brighton and Berringer, and Shala has one child, Raylan, with one on the way. Being a grandparent is one of the greatest joys in the world!!

Being an Athletic Director at a small school can be a very challenging job. Teaching a full load of classes, coaching numerous sports, and trying to organize athletic events and programs is often an 18 hour a day job! I feel the main keys to being a successful AD in a small school are: 1) being able to utilize your time effectively. 2) Staying organized in the classroom and with the school’s activities. 3) Balancing your time at home as much as possible. It is also important as an AD to have great people to work with. Administrators who are always willing to help out at events and allow time during the day for AD work. Assistants in the office who help keep schedules and finances in order make activities run smooth. Another important element of school activities is our volunteers who help run our home events. The people behind the scenes who run the chains, or clean up after a game are vital to a successful event.

I am grateful to all the people who have helped me to be able to have the best job I could have ever imagined!

District VI Spotlight: Bec Ray - Sandhills/Thedford

I have been the Activities Director at Thedford Schools and Co-Athletic Director with Sandhills since the 2017-18 year; so going into my 4th year now. I have locally substituted since 2010 and finally graduated from UNL in 2018 with my Masters of Science with an endorsement in FCS and received my teaching certificate. Before being hired at Thedford, I coached girls’ basketball at Mullen for 5 years then got to coach for Sandhills/Thedford when hired as the A.D. I’m very involved in youth sports in our communities coaching basketball, soccer, and helping with volleyball.

Fun fact about me – I am from British Columbia, Canada eh’. Out of high school I received a full ride basketball scholarship from Western Wyoming Community College (2yrs) and from there received my second full ride to play at Chadron State College. I also got asked to throw the javelin on the track team my senior year. I graduated with my BA in Psychology and a minor in FCS. One spring in college, I got invited to a branding in Thedford, NE by a girl on my basketball team; which is now my sister in-law…the rest is history from that day. I fell in love with the sandhills immediately and knew this was where I belonged. My husband and I have been married since 2009 and have 2 daughters: Emma (9) and Paisley (7). Both love playing all sports as much as I do and love traveling.

Something I feel like I have helped initiate since being AD (with the help of Adam Marten as the other AD at Sandhills) is a positive, stronger communication base between the two schools and the two communities. Co-ops can be very challenging– it takes patience and a lot of communication and organizational skills, but I have loved every minute of it. The struggles only make us stronger.

ADs also need to get resourceful when on budgets (or do what they can to help improve their school on a minimal budget), so I conquered my fear of heights in August by getting on 25ft rusty old scaffolding and repainted our football field scoreboard from an old rusty orange/red to Knights green, put new decals on it, and replaced 15 light bulbs. It looks pretty awesome – people thought we bought a new board. Also, thank you to District VI for voting me to represent our district at rep assembly this April. I’m excited to be more involved and be our representative!

PRESIDENT-ELECT MESSAGE

Jordan Cudney - North Platte

Activities Directors across the state of Nebraska, welcome to 2021!!! It is safe to say that 2020 was interesting at best and provided us all some ups and downs as well as highs and lows, as we navigated the past 365 days. We were asked as administrators to change, adapt, adjust, create, re-create, etc...all in an effort to put our students in the best position possible to be able to participate in the extracurricular activities they so love to participate in. The hours were long, the tasks were difficult, and more often than not, they were done without the knowledge of all that it took to get them done. So I want to take time on behalf of the NSIAAA and as a colleague in arms, to congratulate you all on a job well done and provide you with the proverbial “pat on the back” for all of your hard work!

However, the new year is upon us and the road that lies ahead is unknown to each of us. As we all know, this is not the time to take a step back and enjoy the view. On the contrary, now is the time to dig in and continue to press forward for the betterment of those we serve and the communities around us! I encourage us all to take some time at the beginning of the new year to reflect on our lives over the past year and resolve to make the 2021 version of ourselves the best that it can be! We want to be students of ourselves to learn from 2020 and how it molded us and shaped us so that we can move forward into 2021 with a great vision of who we are, who we want to be, and where we want to go!

As the president-elect for the NSIAAA, I resolve to continue work as hard as I can to bring a positive, can-do attitude to our association, work to provide the membership opportunities to grow and develop in their profession, and work to provide a network of support for all activity directors across the state of Nebraska in 2021!

Created By
Lance Smith
Appreciate