The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will award NFHS Citations to eight high school athletic directors December 17 in San Antonio, Texas, during luncheon festivities at the 49th 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 Anthony Amero, CMAA, athletic administrator, Forest Hils School, Jackman, Maine; John Cann, CAA, athletic director, T. L. Hanna High School, Anderson, South Carolina; Ray Moore, CMAA, retired athletic director, Vista Murrieta High School, Murrieta, California; Michael Morris, CMAA, executive director, Illinois Athletic Directors Association, LaGrange, Illinois; Scott Nordi, CAA, athletic director, Lakes High School, Lakewood, Washington; Cliff Odenwald, CAA, executive athletic director, Garland Independent School District, Garland, Texas; Joshua Scott, CMAA, director of athletics, Springfield Public Schools, Springfield, Missouri; and Robert Stratton, retired athletic administrator, Glen Allen, Virginia.
Following are biographical sketches on this year’s NFHS Citation recipients:
Anthony Amero, CMAA
As the athletic administrator of Forest Hills School in Jackman, Maine, Anthony Amero, CMAA, is tasked with many responsibilities. With a school enrollment of only about 50 students, Amero has found innovative ways to blend sporting trips with college campus visits. He has been a highly successful administrator and basketball coach and teacher since 1997.
During Amero’s 22 years as boys basketball coach at Forest Hills, he has won 275 games and two state championships, and he has been named coach of the year in Maine on three occasions. Amero served as president of the East-West Conference from 2011 to 2015 and was president of the Pine Cone League from 2004 to 2015.
At the state level, Amero is an active member of the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), including a term as president in 2006-07, while serving its board from 2001 to 2010. He was the MIAAA Strategic Planning Committee Finance Chair in 2012-13 and has worked with the Association’s Mentoring Program since 2009.
For the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA), Amero currently serves on the Classification Committee and previously served on its Public/Private Committee and Advisory Board. He also authored a proposal that the MPA adopted, which requires all schools that host preliminary basketball games to have a regulation basketball court.
Since 2011, Amero has been a NIAAA Leadership Training Course instructor and helped Forest Hills become the first school in the country to offer LTC 501 and 502 to students. Amero also obtained his CMAA designation in 2003 and earned his master’s degree through the NIAAA’s partnership with Grace College in 2015.
John Cann, CAA
Anderson, South Carolina
John Cann, CAA, has spent nearly three decades in education in South Carolina, becoming one of the most respected athletic administrators in the state. He is currently the athletic director of T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, South Carolina.
Cann began his career in education in 1984 as a teacher and football coach at Greenwood High School and a graduate assistant football coach at Furman University. After eight years in the construction industry, Cann returned to teaching and coaching fulltime in 1994. In 2001, Cann was named the head football coach at Landrum High School and, in 2002, became the school’s athletic director.
During his 13 years at Landrum, Cann helped with the design and construction of a new Landrum High School, which included athletic facilities. While serving as athletic director at Landrum, the school won 13 state championships.
Since 2013, Cann has been athletic director at T.L. Hanna High School, where he has directed more than $13.5 million in construction of new athletic facilities, including artificial turf on the football, baseball and softball fields; a new eight-lane track; a state-of-the-art multi-use facility currently under construction as well as a new fieldhouse with weight room, training room, meeting rooms and locker rooms.
Cann has served the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association (SCAAA) extensively, including 10 years on the SCAAA board and a year as president in 2012. He currently serves as the state vendor coordinator for the SCAAA/SCHSL Spring Athletic Conference, a role he has held the past six years.
Also, at the state level, Cann was a South Carolina Football Coaches Association board member from 2002 to 2007, and served on the Realignment Committee of the South Carolina High School League in 2008.
Among his honors, Cann is a four-time region athletic director of the year and the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association state athletic director of the year in 2012. In 2017, the same organization presented him with the Charles Arthur Stewart Athletic Administrator Award.
Ray Moore, CMAA
Ray Moore, CMAA, retired in 2015 after more than 40 years in education in California, including 32 years as an athletic administrator. Moore was athletic director at Anaheim Loara High School (1984-90), Diamond Bar High School (1990-2003) and Vista Murrieta High School (2003-15).
During Moore’s various tenures as athletic director, teams garnered 97 league championships, 15 California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) team titles and 36 individual CIF champions. Under his leadership, Vista Murrieta was named a CIF Southern Section “School of Character” champion four times and earned a National Program of Excellence Award.
Moore was active in the California State Athletic Directors Association (CSADA), serving as vice-president from 2003 to 2014. He also continues to chair the CSADA Conference Program Committee and was chair of the CSADA 50th Anniversary Committee last year.
Moore served as the athletic directors representative to the CIF-Southern Section (CIF-SS) Executive Committee from 2007 to 2011 and was the CIF-SS Athletic Directors Advisory Committee Chair during the same time.
Nationally, Moore served on the NIAAA Certification Committee in 2002-03 and the Communication, Issues and Resolutions Committee from 1998 to 2001. He also currently is California’s representative to the National Executive Directors Council. In 1985, Moore was a member of the host committee for the National Athletic Directors Conference in Anaheim.
Moore was named CIF-SS Athletic Director of the Year in 1997 and was California State Athletic Director of the Year in 2001. In 2015, the CIF-SS honored him with a Distinguished Service Award and, in 2017, Moore was given the CSADA Jim Echols Award for Outstanding Service.
Michael Morris, CMAA
Mike Morris, CMAA, technically retired as a high school administrator in 2005, but continues to serve athletic administrators in Illinois as the executive director of the Illinois Athletic Directors Association (IADA).
After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1972, Morris began his career in education as the physical education teacher and coach at Macomb Senior High School in Macomb, Illinois. He also taught at Glenbard North High School, St. Bede Academy and St. Joseph Ogden High School, where he was the head football coach. In 1984, Morris became the assistant dean of students at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois, where he would remain for more than 20 years, including 13 as the division chair for health, physical education, athletics and student activities.
Even before becoming the IADA Executive Director in 2012, Morris was highly involved with the organization. From 1991 to 1998, Morris served on the IADA Registration Committee and has presented at the state conference annually since 1991. He joined the IADA Board of Directors in 1999 and served as the group’s treasurer and retired athletic director liaison from 1999 to 2012. Morris also was on the IADA Strategic Planning Committee from 2002 to 2006.
At the national level, Morris has represented the IADA on the National Executive Directors Council since 2012, and was a part of the NIAAA Strategic Planning Committee from 2014 to 2016. On three occasions, he has presented at the National Athletic Directors Conference, and has authored articles in Interscholastic Athletic Administration magazine, NFHS Coaches’ Quarterly and NFHS News.
Morris has also been a leader at the local level, serving as president of the West Suburban Conference Athletic Directors in 1996-97, and as the resource athletic director for football, wrestling and swimming for 14 years.
In 1997, the IADA named Morris the Outstanding Athletic Administrator of the Year and honored him as a Class AA Co-Athletic Director of the Year in 2004. Perhaps Morris’ highest recognition was being inducted into the Illinois Athletic Directors Hall of Fame in 2008.
Scott Nordi, CAA
Scott Nordi, CAA, began his teaching career in 1990 as an elementary school teacher in Tacoma, Washington, and has consistently worked his way up the education ladder. He quickly became a middle school teacher and coach, then moving to the high school level in 1994.
In 2004, Nordi was named athletic director of Clover Park High School in Lakewood, Washington, and remained there until 2012, when he took the same position at Lakes High School. Along the way, Nordi has been active in local leadership, serving as president of the Pierce County League (2016-18), South Puget Sound League 2A/3A (2010-15) and South Puget Sound League 3A (2009-10).
In 2018, Nordi finished a term as president of the Washington Secondary School Athletic Administrators Association (WSSAAA), and currently serves the association as chair of its Exhibit Hall Committee and as a member of the Finance Committee.
Nordi has also worked with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) as a tournament manager for the WIAA State Football Championships since 2006 and on the event staff for the state wrestling meet since 2007. He has also served on the WIAA Representative Assembly since 2009.
At the national level, Nordi currently represents Section 8 on the NIAAA Board of Directors, and he is a previous member of the NIAAA Awards Committee. He has also represented Washington on the NIAAA Delegate Assembly seven times.
Among his honors, Nordi was named State Athletic Director of the Year in 2016-17 and was given the WSSAAA Athletic Administrator Outstanding Service Award in 2016.
Cliff Odenwald, CAA
Cliff Odenwald, CAA, has spent 40 years leading students and coaches in Texas, earning the respect of his peers as a leader in athletic administration.
Odenwald began his career in 1978 as an assistant coach for football, basketball and track at Wylie Independent School District, and later worked as head football coach and head golf coach at his alma mater, McMurry University in Abilene, Texas.
In 1994, Odenwald left the coaching world to start a career in athletic administration. He became the assistant athletic director of the Garland ISD until 2003, when he was named athletic director of the Plano ISD, where he stayed until 2007.
In 2007, Odenwald was named associate athletic director of the University Interscholastic League (UIL), and was promoted to athletic director of the UIL in 2009. He was instrumental in establishing a one-site venue for the UIL State Football Championships.
Odenwald returned to Garland in 2011 as the district’s associate athletic director, and was named Garland’s athletic director in 2013. He currently is the executive athletic director of the Garland ISD, overseeing seven high schools, 12 middle schools, 350 coaches and more than 7,000 student athletes.
At the state level, Odenwald was president of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA) in 2004 and 2005, and has served terms as chair on the THSADA Awards Committee and the Football Advisory Committee. He also was a NIAAA Leadership Training instructor in Texas from 1999 to 2007.
Odenwald’s honors include induction into the McMurry University Hall of Honor in 2003, the Texas School Athletic Directors Hall of Honor in 2008 and the Garland Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
Joshua Scott, CMAA
Josh Scott, CMAA, was named director of athletics of the Springfield (Missouri) Public Schools on July 1, 2018. Now in his 11th year as a high school athletic administrator, Scott has established himself as a leader in Missouri and the NIAAA. Prior to accepting the Springfield position this past summer, Scott served 10 years as the district athletic director of Waynesville School District in St. Robert, Missouri.
Locally, Scott serves as the Ozark Conference secretary-treasurer and previously was its Expansion Team chair and By-law Revision Committee chair. He has also been the meet manager of the conference track meet and wrestling meet twice each.
During his 10 years in Waynesville, Scott led the reorganization of the district’s programs for grades 7-12, hosted a regional symposium and directed 18 varsity sports at the high school level and seven middle schools.
Scott began his service at the state level quickly after becoming an athletic director, serving on the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Investigative Committee from 2009 to 2011, and he has continued to remain active with the MSHSAA as a former member of the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee, Liaison Committee and ad-hoc Committee for Transfers. Currently, Scott sits on the MSHSAA Technology Committee.
For the Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA), Scott was elected as president-elect in 2015 and is currently serving a term as MIAAA President. He has also served as MIAAA webmaster since 2013, developed the MIAAA statewide mentoring program and presented at numerous MIAAA conferences. In 2017, Scott was selected Missouri Athletic Director of the Year.
Scott currently serves on the NIAAA Board of Directors as its secretary and previously served on the NIAAA Credentials Committee for six years, including a year as vice-chair. For Section V, he has served on the Scholarship Selection Committee from 2012 to 2015, and was the Section V Secretary from 2013 to 2016.
Robert Stratton, CAA
Glen Allen, Virginia
Bob Stratton, CAA, retired in 2015 after 36 years as an athletic administrator – 34 years in public schools and the last two years at the Steward School, a private school in Richmond, Virginia. He began his career in 1979 at newly opened John Rolfe Middle School as a coach, teacher and athletic director.
Stratton would then help open two more high schools – Mills Godwin and Atlee – in 1982 and 1991, respectively. At both schools, he was assistant athletic director and coached football, basketball, golf and baseball.
From 1999 to 2002, he was activities director at Patrick Henry High School in Hanover County, Virginia. In 2002, Stratton was hired by Hanover County Public Schools as director of student activities to help design, plan, staff and open Hanover High School in 2003. This was the third and last high school Stratton would open as he retired from Hanover High School in 2013.
As a coach, Stratton was named Capital District Golf Coach of the Year from 1997 to 1999 and Baseball Coach of the Year in 1993, 1996 and 1999. He also earned the Central Region Athletic Administrator of the Year in 2006, and the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (VIAAA) Athletic Director of the Year in 2009.
Stratton was heavily involved with the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, serving as VIAAA President in 2010-11, and VIAAA Treasurer from 2006 to 2009. He was also the conference chair for both the 2015 and 2016 State Conferences. In addition, Stratton served on the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Pitching Committee and administered the VHSL state volleyball tournament for eight years. During his career, Stratton directed more than 100 district, regional and state tournaments.
At the national level, Stratton has attended 19 National Athletic Directors Conferences and currently serves on the NIAAA Awards Committee. From 2006 to 2011, he was the Virginia representative to the NIAAA Delegate Assembly and earned the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 2009. This past June, Stratton was inducted into the Virginia High School League (VHSL) Hall of Fame.