Nashville plays host to record-setting National Athletic Directors Conference

Photo by Haley Maria Smith Photography

The National Athletic Directors Conference, NADC, has established an all-time attendance record in Nashville this week.

Nearly 3,000 high school and middle school athletic directors have gathered for the 53rd annual conference sponsored by the National Federation of State High School Associations, NFHS, and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, NIAAA.

“The growth of the high school athletic administration profession as well as the NADC was fueled in 1977 when the NFHS formed the NIAAA, a national professional organization for high school athletic administrators,” said Dr. Karissa Niehoff, Chief Executive Officer of NFHS.

Neihoff is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities.

In a statement released last week, Neihoff, a former Executive Director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, stated the previous record-setting mark of 2,092 NADC attendees was set four years ago at the conference in San Antonio.

“And perhaps even more exciting for the future of sports in our nation’s schools is that more than 850 are first-time attendees – also a record number,” said Neihoff.

The growth of the high school athletic administration profession as well as the NADC was fueled in 1977 when the NFHS formed the NIAAA, a national professional organization for high school athletic administrators.

Membership in the NIAAA expanded rapidly and, in 2006, it became its own organization.

Since that time, the NFHS – the national leader and advocate for high school athletics and performing arts – and the NIAAA, with more than 12,000 members, have worked together annually to conduct the NADC.

“Unlike national conferences for some groups, professional development is among the main reasons that athletic directors attend the National Athletic Directors Conference, which was started by the NFHS in 1971 with 355 attendees in St. Louis, Missouri,” said Neihoff.

Attendees at this year’s conference signed up for more than 1,800 Leadership Training Institute courses sponsored by the NIAAA.

The 54 course topics addressed issues including legal, marketing and promotion, technology, sports medicine, mental health, hiring and mentoring coaches, managing fields and equipment, and building positive culture among others.

NFHS is the national leader and advocate for high school athletics, and fine and performing arts programs.

Within its 51 member state associations that promote amateur sports participation and athletics programs at the high school level, NFHS serves 19,500 high schools and more than 12 million young people.

The NFHS writes playing rules for high school sports and provides guidance on a multitude of national issues, offering online education courses for high school coaches,officials, students, parents, and speech and music leaders through the NFHS Learning Center.

NFHS provides leadership in the field of high school athletics and activities administration, while establishing rules and regulations for the sanctioning of high school athletics/activities events.

Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the organization formulates model rationales for high school eligibility rules for use by high school athletics and activities administrators.

The governing body takes great pride in presenting high school sports and performing arts online through the NFHS Network.

“Collectively and collaboratively, we can meet the challenges ahead to protect and promote education-based sports and activities,” said Neihoff.

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