The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will award NFHS Citations to eight high school athletic directors December 14 in Orlando, Florida, during luncheon festivities at the 46th annual National Athletic Directors Conference sponsored jointly by the NFHS and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA).
NFHS Citations are presented annually to outstanding athletic directors in recognition of contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels. State associations nominate athletic directors for NFHS Citations, and the NFHS Board of Directors approves recipients.
This year’s award winners are Bruce Brown,CMAA, executive director, Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Strasburg, Ohio; Lane Green, CMAA, director of school administration and athletics and activities, Blue Valley School District, Overland Park, Kansas; Bobby Hill, CMAA, athletic director, Hillside High School, Durham, North Carolina; Paul Neidig, CAA, district athletic director/chief of staff, Evansville (Indiana) Vanderburgh School Corporation; Ted Petersen, CAA, athletic director, Weber High School, Pleasant View, Utah; Robert Rossi, CMAA, supervisor of athletics, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, New Jersey; Craig Rothenberger, CAA, athletic director, Junction City (Oregon) High School; and Ed Warken, athletic director, Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District, Cypress, Texas.
Following are biographical sketches on this year’s NFHS Citation recipients:
Bruce Brown, CMAA, Strasburg, Ohio
Bruce Brown, CMAA, is executive director of the Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA) after completing a highly successful 16-year career as director of athletics at Uniontown (Ohio) Lake High School in 2014.
Brown began his administrative career at Lake High School in 1998 while concluding his career as a basketball coach. Brown won more than 220 games as a high school basketball coach, which included several league championships and coach-of-the-year awards. As athletic director, he oversaw the development of five major facility projects, including new softball and baseball field enhancements and dugouts, artificial turf for the school’s multi-use stadium and a new press box. He also served as tournament manager for numerous Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) events.
Brown became the first executive director of the OIAAA in 2012 and has helped membership increase more than 83 percent in the past three years. He has served on the state conference planning committee since 2004, and represents the OIAAA on the National Executive Directors Council.
Brown was the first Ohio instructor trained to teach “Fundamentals of Coaching” and has done so to nearly 650 coaches. He also presented the NFHS course at the first three National Athletic Directors Conferences after it became available. Brown is a National Leadership Training faculty member and is co-chair of Leadership Training Course (LTC) 723, a course he helped revise. He has also been a member of the NIAAA Certification Committee and serves as a CAA and CMAA project reader.
An accomplished writer, Brown has had numerous articles published at the national and state levels, including the NFHS Coaches’ Quarterly and NFHS Coaching Today. He currently chairs the NFHS Coaches Publications Committee.
Among his many awards, Brown was selected OIAAA Athletic Director of the Year in 2007, Ohio Association of Secondary Schools Principals’ Athletic Director of the Year in 2009 and the NFHS National Coach Educator of the Year in 2011. In addition to earning his CMAA designation as an athletic director, Brown has earned his Accredited Interscholastic Coach (AIC) and Certified Interscholastic Coach (CIC) through the NFHS.
In 1999, Brown helped create Hoops 4 Healing, Inc., a non-profit foundation that has generated more than $250,000 to support liver disease research, organ donor education and individual assistance to stricken families.
Lane Green, CMAA, Overland Park, Kansas
After spending the early part of his career in business, Lane Green, CMAA, earned a certificate in secondary education and never looked back. In the 20 years since, he has been dedicated to furthering education-based athletics for high school students in Kansas.
Following graduation from the University of Kansas in 1985, Green worked for the Dallas Mavericks for a year before taking two public relations positions. In 1993, he earned his secondary education certificate from Avila (Missouri) College and began a 13-year stint teaching and coaching varsity girls basketball at Shawnee Mission (Kansas) East High School. Two years into his tenure there, he also became the director of athletics.
In 2006, Green took a job as the assistant principal and director of athletics and activities at Olathe (Kansas) North High School, where he was quickly promoted to district director of athletics, activities, transportation and safe and drug free schools in 2009. Five years later, he moved to his current position of director of school administration and athletics and activities for the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kansas.
Green was on the Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) Board of Directors from 2005 to 2007 and also on the Board of Directors of the Kansas Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (KIAAA) from 1998 to 2013. He is currently on the NIAAA Board of Directors and is the liaison to the NIAAA Coaches Education Committee. In 2005, Green was only the second Kansas athletic director to earn a Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) designation.
Putting his public relations background to work, Green has published articles in IAA Magazine and was a member of the NIAAA Publications Committee from 2009 to 2012. He has also presented at several local and national conferences.
Green won the KIAAA District II Athletic Director of the Year award in 2003 and the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2009.
Bobby Hill, CMAA, Durham, North Carolina
Bobby Hill, CMAA, has spent his entire career of more than 20 years teaching, coaching and serving as an athletic director in Durham Public Schools in North Carolina.
Hill attended North Carolina Central University and, after graduating, began coaching as a volunteer under Hall of Fame coach Russell B. Blunt at Durham (North Carolina) Hillside High School while teaching at the middle school and elementary levels. He was also a head wrestling coach. In 1995, he moved to Hillside to be the athletic director and physical education teacher.
Throughout his time at Hillside, Hill continued to coach until 2012, working as an assistant football coach, head track and field coach, head junior varsity basketball coach and head varsity volleyball coach. As athletic director, he has transitioned a budget surplus into the next school year for three years in a row and implemented a coaches manual for his staff.
Hill has served on the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association (NCADA) Board of Directors since 2010 and was the organization’s president in 2014. Hill has also been a member of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Education Committee since last year.
On the national level, Hill is a lifetime member of the NIAAA and has served on the Credentials Committee since last year. With more than 15 years of experience as an NIAAA and NFHS instructor, Hill was the first Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) in the Durham School System in 2006. He then earned his Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) certification in 2009. He has also been a member of the NCADA Leadership Teaching Faculty since 2008.
While coaching, Hill was the North Carolina State Five County Conference Coach of the Year eight times and was a four-time track and field coach of the year. In 2010, he was awarded the NIAAA State Award of Merit and the following year, he won the North Carolina Alliance for Athletic Education High School Athletic Director of the Year.
Paul Neidig, CAA, Evansville, Indiana
A longtime Indiana resident, Paul Neidig, CAA, has spent his entire 30-year career serving the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC) as a teacher, coach, athletic director, chief of staff and district athletic director.
After playing basketball for and graduating from Eastern Illinois University in 1985, Neidig returned to his home state and began teaching at Evansville Central High School. He also coached the boys basketball teams, and served as the department head and assistant athletic director there for 15 years. In 2001, he took over as the school’s athletic director and, after only two years in the position, was promoted to district athletic director for the EVSC. There, he supervised more than 300 coaches and 3,000 student-athletes at five high schools and 11 middle schools. For the past two years, he has been the EVSC chief of staff.
Neidig has been a member of the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (IIAAA) for more than 20 years as an officer for District 6. He has presented at numerous state and national conferences, and in 2012, was a participant on the NIAAA Blue Ribbon Panel. He is also a member of the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) Board of Directors and was chair of the Executive Committee in 2007, 2010 and 2015.
Neidig’s significant contributions to Indiana high school athletics have been recognized several times, beginning with the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2006 and the IIAAA Athletic Administrator of the Year award in 2007. In 2012, he was named the District III Administrator by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. The following year, he was awarded both the NIAAA National District Service Award and the IIAAA Charles F. Maas Distinguished Service Award.
Remaining active in the community, Neidig currently serves on the boards of the Evansville Sports Corporation, the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana and the Evansville Teachers Federal Credit Union.
Ted Petersen, CAA, Pleasant View, Utah
Known as “Coach Pete” to those with whom he works, Ted Petersen, CAA, has spent his 30-year career as a highly regarded teacher, coach and athletic director at two schools in two different states.
Growing up, Petersen knew he wanted to emulate his father, who taught and coached at the high school level. So, after graduating from Utah State University in 1985, Petersen moved to Arizona and began to teach and coach football and wrestling at Fredonia High School. In 1991, Petersen returned to Utah to teach history at Pleasant View Weber High School. He continued to coach there for 22 years, leading several teams to state championships in football, wrestling and Unified track and field, and has spent the past 16 years as assistant and head athletic director.
Petersen has strived to make sure Weber’s athletic facilities are current and the best they can be for the student-athletes. Improvements during Petersen’s tenure include new weight rooms, a new on-campus softball field, new football practice field, new pole vault area and updates to the school’s gym and baseball field. Petersen was instrumental in hosting several state playoff games at Weber and was on the setup committee for the state wrestling tournament from 1995 to 1998.
Petersen has been a member of the Utah Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (UIAAA) for more than 15 years and served as president last year. He has organized the annual UIAAA conference and facilitated training for members in the state of Utah. He also helped run the UIAAA summer golf tournament in 2013 and 2014.
In 2014, Petersen was a member of the second UIAAA Strategic Planning Committee. He has also served as a state delegate for the NIAAA and taught Leadership Training Courses (LTC) 502 and 714. Additionally, he was a member of the NIAAA Awards Committee from 2006 to 2013.
Robert Rossi, CMAA, Flemington, New Jersey
Robert Rossi, CMAA, has been the supervisor of athletics at Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, New Jersey, since 1992, after more than 15 years as a coach and teacher.
While attending Trenton State College, Rossi was a player and assistant junior varsity basketball coach from 1973 to 1975. After graduating in 1975, he spent three more years as the assistant varsity and head junior varsity basketball coach at his alma mater. During that time, he began teaching physical education and health at nearby St. Ann’s Elementary School and Anthiel Middle School.
In 1978, Rossi moved to South Hunterdon Regional High School to teach and coach varsity basketball. Three years later, he also began coaching varsity softball. He remained in these roles until 1992, when he transitioned to Hunterdon Central as supervisor of athletics.
Rossi earned his Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) certification in 1997 and followed with the Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) in 2002. He has served on the NIAAA Hall of Fame Selection Committee since 2010 and was vice chair of the Awards Committee from 2003 to 2007. He presented at the 2000 National Athletic Directors Conference and was published in IAA Magazine the same year. Rossi has also taught several NIAAA LTI courses.
An active host site director for many state tournaments, Rossi has proposed and presented various successful rules changes for consideration in New Jersey, including the addition of pole vault as a state championship event for girls in 1999. Rossi was also a longtime member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee before serving as chair from 2000 to 2014. He also has been a key contributor to the Directors of Athletics Association of New Jersey (DAANJ) as he created the first DAANJ Strategic Plan and the first Policy, Operations and Procedure Manual.
Rossi has won numerous awards for his contributions to athletics at both the local and national levels. He was a two-time Hunterdon County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year and was selected the Softball Coach of the Year in 1987. He was awarded the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2003 and its Distinguished Service Award in 2010. In 2003, Rossi was named DAANJ Athletic Director of the Year.
Craig Rothenberger, CAA, Junction City, Oregon
For almost 50 years, Craig Rothenberger, CAA, has been working in Oregon education as a teacher, coach and athletic director.
Rothenberger began his career in 1969 at Tillamook (Oregon) Catholic High School for four years and Nestucca (Oregon) High School for the next seven years. In 1980, he moved to Junction City (Oregon) High School, where he continues to work today as a coach and athletic director. At times, he has coached football, baseball and golf, but for his entire 46-year career, Rothenberger has coached basketball. His team won the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) State Championship in 1994.
In 2010, Rothenberger initiated the Junction City High School Core Value Program, which brings presenters to the school every two weeks to encourage, support and recognize coaches and student-athletes who display core values on and off the playing field. Additionally, he was director of the Oregon High School Coaches Association (OHSCA) All Star basketball series for 15 years and hosted numerous district and state events at Junction City.
Rothenberger has been a member of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association (OADA) Executive Board for almost 15 years and served as its president twice. He represented the OADA as a voting member of the OSAA Executive Board for six years and was a member of the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association (OACA) Executive Board for six years. He has also chaired the state conference on two separate occasions.
Last year, Rothenberger received the first annual “Coaching with Character Award” from the OHSCA and was awarded the Oregon Sports Game Changer Award in 2013. He was also named the NFHS National Boys Basketball Coach of the Year in 2012 after winning the NFHS Northwest Section Boys Basketball Coach of the Year award in 2003. Rothenberger was also recognized as the Oregon 3A Athletic Director of the Year in 1998.
Ed Warken, CAA, Cypress, Texas
With more than 40 years of experience in education, Ed Warken, CAA, has enjoyed a successful career as a high school teacher, coach and athletic administrator.
After graduating from Wayne State University (Michigan) in 1974, Warken spent seven years teaching health and physical education and coaching football and track and field at West Bloomfield (Michigan) High School.
After earning a master’s degree in athletic administration from Michigan State University in 1981, Warken moved to Texas and began teaching and coaching at Spring High School. In addition to football and track and field, Warken has coached baseball, basketball, softball and golf at different times throughout his career.
In 1986, he took over as assistant principal and athletic coordinator at Houston (Texas) Westfield High School. Five years later, he began a stint as athletic director of Galena Park Independent School District, a position he held for more than 20 years. Three years ago, Warken took over as athletic director of Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District in Cypress, Texas, where he currently oversees 117,000 students in 10 high schools and 18 middle schools.
Warken has been a member of the Texas High School Coaches Association for almost 35 years and has been a member of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA) for almost 25 years. From 1994 to 1998, he chaired the THSADA membership committee. He was vice president of the THSADA from 1998 to 1999 before serving as its president the following year.
On the national level, Warken has been a member of the NIAAA since 1991 and earned his Certified Athletic Administrator certification in 1994.
Warken was named the THSADA Athletic Director of the Year in 2000 before being inducted into its Hall of Honor just three years later. He received the Greater Houston Football Coaches Association Distinguished Service Award in 2003. In 2001, he received the NIAAA State Award of Merit.