November 4, 2013 • Athletic Administration

A.D.ministration: Providing help for the athletic director

There should be little debate that an athletic administrator has an incredibly busy and demanding position. The job is so complex and encompassing that even knowledgeable and experienced individuals may occasionally need help.

So, where do you go?

Fortunately, there are many great avenues and resources that are available for the current crop of athletic administrators. While the following is not meant as an all-inclusive list, it’s a great starting point. When you need help, try one of these possibilities.

The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) offers a full range of courses — 38 at this present time. In these four-hour sessions, athletic administrators can be informed, updated and provided with an enormous amount of helpful, practical information that can be immediately applied to their own individual settings.

The NIAAA also has a CD, entitled Athletic Administration: A Comprehensive Guide, which can be purchased for $30. This resource contains templates and example forms, documents and policies for everyone. One only needs to save the document on theircomputer, enter the school’s name and you have the beginning of a usable policy or form that can be adapted to the needs of your school.

The National Federation of State High School Associations publishes High School Today and this magazine is mailed free to every high school athletic administrator in the country. The eight issues each year contain a wide variety of extremely helpful and topical articles. There must be at least one article per issue that will benefit most athletic directors. All you have to do is read the pertinent article and if you lose one of your copies, past issues are posted on the NFHS website.

As a member of the NIAAA, you receive a subscription to Interscholastic Athletic Administrators magazine and it contains articles that are specific to the athletic director position. While there are other outstanding benefits of membership, this publication alone is a significant source of help.

The NFHS and NIAAA co-sponsor the National High School Athletic Directors Conference every December. With approximately 30 Leadership Training Courses and 35 workshop sessions available, these cover current issues and provide practical solutions along with the chance to visit with several hundred vendors. This function is a fantastic opportunity to expand your background and knowledge. It also is a virtual smorgasbord of helpful hints.

In like fashion, most state athletic director associations also sponsor their own state conferences. Professional development is also the major theme on the state level and often leadership training courses and workshop sessions also are provided for their members.

The NFHS website provides links to numerous resources for the athletic administrator, one of which is Coaching Today, an online professional publication for coaches. Athletic administrators should periodically check this publication for articles that will help coaches improve within the concept of education-based athletics. And don’t be surprised if you also learn a thing or two. For more information, visit

A number of state athletic director associations — Florida, North Carolina and Maryland come to mind — offer mentoring programs for their members. While these efforts are extremely beneficial for new, inexperienced individuals, they are ready resources for all athletic administrators. If you need help, just ask.

In addition to mentoring programs, a number of state athletic director associations offer workshop sessions for new and aspiring athletic administrators. These sessions are crammed with practical ideas, example forms and policies, and everything needed to get started in the position. Some also may have a manual or handouts that accompany their teaching sessions. It would be wise to check to see if your state association has an existing program, because this could be the help that you were looking for.

Even without a formal, established mentoring program, your state athletic director association is a great resource. Most associations have their own websites, which include helpful information and links to additional sites. One of the great benefits of membership is that you will have an enormous, established support system for any problem that you may face.

Publications such as Coach & Athletic Director also maintain websites. While the articles and postings are very helpful, you also can order additional materials from their online store. There is a specific section set up for athletic administrators. Visit the publication’s site at

As your career develops, identify and develop working-relationships with one or more local athletic administrators. Colleagues who have gone through the same or similar situations can be a great source of help. If nothing else, being able to vent with fellow athletic directors is invaluable.

In addition to Athletic Administration: A Comprehensive Guide, the NIAAA also has hazing education and risk management DVDs, A Guide For College-Bound Student-Athletes & Their Parents and Profiles Of Athletic Administration, which are available to help athletic administrators.

There also are associated, relevant professional associations that have websites. The following represent just a few that are available and might be helpful:

  • National Sporting Goods Association:
  • Sports & Fitness Industry Association:
  • National Athletic Trainers’ Association:
  • National Strength & Conditioning Association:
  • Technology plays a vital part for every athletic administrator to help him or her to function efficiently, and new developments and applications constantly occur. In order to stay current, you can take advantage of inexpensive courses offered at community colleges or district-wide in-service offerings.

While everyone may need help on occasion, there are avenues and individuals who are available to provide assistance.  You just have to reach out.

The NIAAA and your state athletic directors association are the two most important organizations and support systems in your professional life. Please join and take advantage of mentors, educators and supportive friends all of whom are there to help.

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