Seven High School Athletic Administratorsto be Inducted into NIAAA Hall of Fame


INDIANAPOLIS, IN (December 17, 2020) — Seven high school athletic administrators were inducted into the 12th class of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) Hall of Fame. The 51st National Athletic Directors Conference was held on a virtual platform due to COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, inductees will be officially honored at the 2021 National Conference alongside the 13th Hall of Fame class.

Next year’s 52nd National Conference will be held on December 10-14, 2021 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado.

The 2020 NIAAA Hall of Fame class includes Arthur Ballard, CAA, a retired athletic administrator from Irvine, Kentucky and a current member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Directors Association (KHSADA) Board; David Bell, CMAA, a retired athletic administrator from Zanesville City Schools in Zanesville, Ohio; Tom Crist, a retired director of athletics from East Noble High School and resident of Rome City, Indiana; Doug Kilgore, CMAA retired director of athletics from Central Arkansas Christian in North Little Rock, Arkansas and a current resident of Sherwood, Arkansas; Tracy Leinen, CMAA, a retired director of athletics from Boise, Idaho and current executive director of the Idaho Athletic Administrators Association; Richard Maher, an athletic administrator who passed in 2003, was from Sturgis, Michigan; and James Rolfes, retired athletic administrator from Springfield North High School in Springfield, Ohio.

Following are biographical sketches of the seven members of the 2020 NIAAA Hall of Fame class:

Arthur Ballard, CAA

Irvine, Kentucky

Arthur Ballard, CAA retired in 2017 from athletic administration after 23 years in the field. He spent 21 years as director of athletics at Estill County High School and 2.5 years as the district athletic director.

Ballard has been an NIAAA member for 23 years. He has been a 23-year member of his state association.

Within the NIAAA, Ballard continues to contribute to the Legal Issues team with Dr. Lee Green and has been on the Leadership Training Institute (LTI) National Faculty since 2004. Ballard also helped revise LTC 504 and 506, in addition to creating and implementing LTC 508 and 510.

Furthermore, Ballard was a member of the NIAAA/NFHS National Conference Advisory Committee from 2012-2015. He spent one year as an intern for the NIAAA Professional Development Academy working the leadership team.

At the state level, Ballard has served on the Kentucky High School Athletic Directors Association (KHSADA) Board of Directors since 2002 and was president from 2010-2012. He has served on the KHSADA Executive Committee since 2008.

Locally, Ballard helped start new sports during his time as an athletic administrator at Estill County – including girls freshman, JV and varsity volleyball, boys and girls middle school, JV and varsity soccer, bass fishing, and archery.

Ballard also was the Title IX Coordinator for 20 years at his school. He developed a professional development environment within the athletic department as well.

Among his recognitions, Ballard was the KHSADA Athletic Director of the Year in 2004, received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2011, and the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 2015.

David Bell, CMAA

Zanesville, Ohio

David Bell, CMAA spent 27 years as an athletic administrator impacting students and serving as a role model for new ADs throughout his career. He led by being heavily involved at the local, state, and national levels of athletic administration.

An NIAAA member for 31 years, Bell has been extremely involved with the NIAAA. He first joined the NIAAA Awards Committee in 1991 and spent time as vice chair and chair. Following his time with the Awards Committee, he was appointed as a member the NIAAA Credentials Committee and then served as vice chair for a few years.

After retirement, Bell became a member of the NIAAA Retired Members Full Standing Committee in 2018. He continues to be an instructor for the Leadership Training Institute (LTI) National Faculty for LTC 608 and has spent time as chair, vice chair, and teaching faculty for LTC 608 since 2000.

His contributions to the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA) include serving as a member of the Executive Board for 13 years. He also assisted in organizing the Ohio annual state conference and spoke on several topics in breakout sessions.

Bell led the way for the Ohio IAAA as one of the first athletic administrators in Ohio to organize parent/athlete meetings prior to each sports season. He also was one of the first Ohio director of athletics to attain his CMAA and encouraged others to gain certification from the NIAAA.

Within Zanesville City Schools, Bell was handed the athletic administrator job in tough financial circumstances. Over 40% of the athletic budget was cut just before he arrived, yet over his first year and a half, he helped bring community effort, team fundraising, booster help and committees together to assist with financial need within the athletic department.

Bell has been recognized in numerous fashions. He received an NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 1996, an NFHS Citation in 2001, the NIAAA Special Commendation Award in 1995 and 2000, and the NIAAA State Award of Merit.

Tom Crist

Rome City, Indiana

Tom Crist dedicated 31 years of his life to being an athletic administrator and challenged other directors of athletics to grow professionally.

Crist spent 40 years as a member of the NIAAA and was incredibly engaged in the association. For six years he was the chairperson of the NIAAA Membership Committee and the NIAAA doubled their membership of 2,000 to 4,000 members during that time period.

From 1990-92 he served as a member of the Indiana Host Committee for the 1992 National Conference, and from 1991-93 he served on the NIAAA Board of Directors. He then served on the NIAAA Endowment Committee from 2001-03.

In addition, Crist aided as a workshop speaker and a moderator at a number of National Conferences. He was the Opening General Session Presider a national conference held in New Orleans.

Crist is a life member of the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (IIAAA) and contributed in many factions. This includes time spent as the IIAAA District 2 Membership Chairperson, Executive Board Member, Vice President, and President. He also serviced the IIAAA in planning and organizing the IIAAA State Conference in 1980-81.

In his time as athletic director at Garrett High School from 1969-76, he developed the girls sports of volleyball, basketball, and track. In addition, he started boys wrestling.

At East Noble High School form 1976-2001, he began girls and boys swimming and soccer. He planned and organized new athletic facilities, an athletic policy manual, and an athletic discipline code.

Crist’s recognitions and awards include receiving the IIAAA Charles Maas Distinguished Service Award in 1989, the IIAAA District 2 Athletic Director of the year in 1983, the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 1983, and an NFHS Citation in 1997.

Doug Killgore, CMAA

North Little Rock, Arkansas

Doug Killgore, CMAA retired in 2018 after 18 years as an athletic administrator. He dedicated his efforts to mentoring and lifting up others around him.

Killgore positively impacted the NIAAA with his talents, as he was the Board of Directors Secretary from 2011-16. He began service as a Certified Test Administrator in 2008 and has had multiple articles published in the NIAAA’s magazine, Interscholastic Athletic Administration (IAA).

He also has taught Leadership Training Institute (LTI) courses in 12 states and completed 36 LTI courses himself. His workshop presentations have been designed to meet the needs of athletic administrators and he has spoken at the National Athletic Directors Conference, multiple state conferences, and local school districts.

Within the Arkansas High School Athletic Administrators’ Association (AHSAAA), Killgore was the Board secretary from 2006-09, the President-Elect from 2009-11, and President from 2011-13. At the Arkansas state conference, he presented each year from 2005-19.

He also took on the role as chair of the New Athletic Directors Orientation in Arkansas starting in 2005 and is the co-founder and secretary/treasurer of the River City conference in Arkansas.

In his 28 years working at Central Arkansas Christian School, 16 were spent as assistant principal and 18 as director of athletics. As athletic administrator, he supervised 15 sports, 54 teams, 18 coaches, and 16 volunteers in grades 3-12.

Killgore’s career accomplishments include receiving the Arkansas Class 4A Athletic Director of the Year in 2007 and 2008, the Arkansas Athletic Director of the Year in 2008, and being inducted into the AHSAAA Hall of Fame in 2018. He also received an NFHS Citation in 2010, the State Award of Merit in 2012, and the Thomas E Frederick Award of Excellence in 2018.

Tracy Leinen, CMAA

Boise, Idaho

Tracy Leinen, CMAA became inspired by her college athletic director to become an athletic administrator herself. She went on to spend 28 years in the profession of athletic administration and now serves as the Executive Director for the Idaho Athletic Administrators Association (IAAA)

Her service to athletic administration at the national scale has included being an NIAAA member for 26 years, and in 2005 she joined the NIAAA Board of Directors. As a member of the board, she chaired the financial committee.

Leinen then spent time on the NIAAA Credentials Committee and the Awards Committee. She also was a member of the NIAAA 4th Strategic Plan ad hoc Committee, was a Blue-Ribbon Panelist in 2017, and has served as a Delegate in the Delegate Assembly several times.

At the National Conference, Leinen has been a moderator on three occasions. She joined the NEDC in 2011. She has attended numerous national conferences.

At the state level, Leinen has spoken at the IAAA Conference and aided in constructing the By Laws for IAAA in 1993. Her positions in the IAAA have included High School Liaison (1993-2000), President (2002-04), Conference Exhibitor Director (2011-present), and membership chair for the IAAA and NIAAA.

Locally, she is a member of the SIC Third District Athletic directors, was a tournament director for several sports, and developed a Wall of Fame at Boise High School.

Leinen is well accomplished, earning the NASPE Idaho Athletic director of the Year in 2002 and 2004, as well as the NCSSAD Idaho Athletic Director of the year in 2002-03 and 2003-04. She also received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2005, the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 2005, and an NFHS Citation in 2006.

Richard Maher

Sturgis, Michigan

The late Richard Maher spent 28 years of his life as an athletic administrator at Sturgis High School in Michigan and retired from the profession in 1985.

At the national scale, Maher served on the Executive Board of National Council of Secondary Schools Athletic Directors (NCSSAD) from 1973-78 and was president for a year. In 1973, he arranged the Midwest Secondary Schools Athletic Directors Conference.

In the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), Maher was key in developing Michigan Athletic Directors and Physical Education (MADPE) – which is now called the MIAAA. He was president of the MADPE from 1970-71.

For 20 plus years, Maher organized the annual conference for the MIAAA in order to for young athletic directors to grow professionally.

Maher expanded the athletic program at Sturgis High from five boys only sports and nine teams to 18 boys and girls sports and 45 teams, being the first at Sturgis to include girls in sports opportunities. Around 60% of the student body participated in athletics while he was there.

Overall, one of Maher’s biggest accomplishments was in 1972 when Sturgis High implemented Title IX, and therefore became the role model in Michigan for such implementation. Maher specifically encouraged girls sports to be added and promoted them in the school.

Among his accomplishments, Maher was in the first class to receive NFHS Citations in 1971, and he received the MADPEA Outstanding Service Award in 1971. He was awarded MIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 1973, the NCSSAD Midwest Athletic Director of the Year in 1973. In 2012, he was inducted into the Sturgis High Athletic Hall of Fame.

Jim Rolfes

Springfield, Ohio

After 20 years as an athletic administrator and 34 years as an NIAAA member under his belt, Jim Rolfes retired from athletic administration in 1995.

Rolfes joined the NIAAA membership in 1978 and attended each national conference until 2011. From 1984-1995 he served on the Membership and Services Committee and was the chairperson from 1990-95.

In addition, Rolfes presented at the national conference in 1993 in Las Vegas along with several others. In 1995, he wrote Leadership Training Course (LTC) 502 and from 1995-2011 he was on the LTI National Faculty. He taught LTC 501, 502, 504 and 790.

At the state level, Rolfes is a life member of the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA). In 1996 he was named the Ohio NIAAA Leadership Training Coordinator and Director of Professional Development for Ohio athletic administrators.

Furthermore, from 1996-2012 he started a program of teaching 4-6 LTCs at the OIAAA Conferences and Summer Institute. Rolfes intentionally trained instructors and pushed the spread of teaching LTCs in Ohio.

At Springfield North High School in Ohio, Rolfes oversaw 1,600 students from grades 10-12. He wrote a coaches handbook for Springfield North and also wrote more comprehensive job descriptions and expectations for every coaching position.

In addition, Rolfes started a required preseason athlete/parent/coach meeting at Springfield High. He also began a Parent Advisory Council to help communicate with Springfield High parents on athletics.

Moreover, in 1978 Rolfes planned and supervised the construction of a gymnasium building that included a wrestling room, weight room, locker room, and storage area. Then, in 1991 he did the same for a 5,000-seat stadium, 8 lane all-weather track, press box, combination concession stands, ticket booth, storage building, and restroom buildings.

Rolfe’s recognitions include receiving the SWADAD Athletic Director of the Year (1995), being inducted into the OIAAA Hall of Fame (2007), and receiving the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award (1993).


About the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA)

The NIAAA is the professional organization for interscholastic athletic administrators that is accredited by Cognia. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the NIAAA’s mission is to provide professional development options for directors of athletics, and to enhance the athletic administration profession. Since 1977, the NIAAA has served those who lead education-based athletic programs in the nation’s schools. With a current individual membership of over 13,000, the NIAAA consists of member state athletic administrator associations in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, as well as internationally. Including a 51-course Leadership Training curriculum, six levels of certification, and leadership opportunities, the NIAAA is the professional leader in assisting athletic administrators or individuals in roles that lead school-based sports programs. While also providing networking and exchange of ideas, the association focuses on evaluating best-practices, providing practical resources, and methods of recognition. The NIAAA champions the profession of athletic administration through education opportunities, advocating ethics, developing leaders and fostering community. For more information, visit the NIAAA website at

Dr. Mike Blackburn, CAA, 317-587-1450

Executive Director

National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association

Justin Chapman, 317-587-1450


National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association

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