Roger Blake, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Executive Director since 2012, has informed the CIF Executive Committee his intent to retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve CIF, our schools and students for the past two decades,” stated Blake. “When I joined the CIF staff, I could not have imagined a more challenging and satisfying journey and to finish my educational career as the CIF Executive Director has been extremely rewarding.”
Blake, who turns 65 this month, will conclude a 43-year career in secondary education including the final 21 years with the CIF. During the past two decades, Blake held leadership positions within the CIF as Director of Education & Training (1998-2001), Assistant Executive Director (2001-07) and Associate Executive Director (2007-2012) prior to being selected as the Executive Director. A 1976 graduate from California State University, Fullerton he began his teaching and coaching career at Sonora High School (Fullerton - 1976-77) and Cajon High School (San Bernardino - 1977-78). Next, Blake spent 24 years in the Lake Elsinore Unified School District as a teacher, coach, and administrator prior to joining the CIF State Office staff.
Since assuming duties with the CIF, Blake has vigorously promoted the values of education-based athletic and activity programs and has helped expand opportunities for boys and girls statewide. Blake has been a leading voice and recognized within the State Capitol and the Legislature during his tenure testifying and advocating on behalf of education-based athletics and activities. For more than two decades Blake has led the organization’s focus on risk minimization in sports with an emphasis on education and training of coaches and rules modifications. In 2013, the CIF entered into a partnership with California Special Olympics and the U.S.A. Paralympic Committee to expand and increase opportunities for students with disabilities that now includes participation in State Championship competitions.
“It is a credit to the leadership in California high schools and school districts that I have been able to witness and be a part of the significant growth in education-based athletics over the years,” Blake stated when asked about the growth in high school sports. “In 1998, the CIF had 1,144-member high schools and 584,590 participating student-athletes compared to the 2018 census that listed 1,606-member schools and more than 831,000 male and female participants, a phenomenal growth of 42%.”
Blake is the eighth Executive Director of the CIF, following E.W. Barhart (1914-1915), C.L. Biedenbach (1915-1937), A.B. Ingham (1937-1955), William Russell (1955-1980), Tom Byrnes (1980-1995), Jack Hayes 1995-2001) and Marie Ishida (2001-2012).
“We want to thank Roger for his dedication and service to education-based athletics and the student-athletes of California over the years,” stated CIF President James Perry. “For last two decades, Roger has guided the CIF through new challenges with foresight and integrity. The CIF has been very fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and persistent leader and we will miss him at the helm. We wish him the best of life in retirement.”
The CIF Executive Committee will begin the search for the new candidate immediately with an application deadline of March 29, 2019. It is anticipated that a new CIF Executive Director will be announced in May 2019.