NFHS Director Notes ‘Resiliency’ in Athletic Departments

September 29, 2020 / Athletic Administration
Resiliency — it’s been shown by many throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and, now, it’s being shown by the student-athletes as they return to athletics across the country.

In her latest editorial piece, Dr. Karissa Niehoff, the National Federation for State High School Associations (NFHS) executive director, has highlighted that resiliency as student-athletes pivot to other sports.

“The resiliency of players, coaches, and leaders in high school activity programs the past seven months has been amazing. As attempts continue to offer all sports and performing arts this year, these individuals are making the most of tough times and demonstrating great resolve to change,” she wrote in her opening paragraph.

nfhsNiehoff made note of a 6-foot-3, 300-pound starter on a Michigan football team who opted to join the cross country team when the state did not allow initially allow high school football to be played in the fall. Although the player eventually went back to the football team once they were given the green light from the state, the player still chose to stay active and challenge himself in a new way.

She continued by pointing out teammates from a two-time defending Colorado state champion football program who petitioned for their high school to resurrect the golf program in lieu of the postponed fall football season. Niehoff provided a quote from the school’s new golf coach on the importance of the decision.

“Sports are our lifeline,” said Andy Love, the school’s baseball coach who agreed to coach the golf team, in an article posted on “Our community follows our sports so strongly. It gives our kids this great atmosphere and environment whether it’s the football field, the basketball court, or whatever. Our community rallies around our kids.”

Here are few more passages from Niehoff’s editorial.

In Kansas, with the heading of “the show must go on,” the Goodland High School athletic director and superintendent stepped in to coach the football team a few weeks ago because the head coach and assistant coach were quarantined during the week. The result? Goodland, a Class 3A school, defeated Liberal High School, a Class 5A school!

Coaches have demonstrated resiliency as well by finding new ways to conduct the competition and keep students engaged. In Minnesota, at a swimming meet between Chaska High School and Bloomington Kennedy High School, Chaska swimmers occupied lanes 1 to 4, while Kennedy swimmers were in lanes 5 to 8 for social distancing purposes.

To read the full editorial from Dr. Karissa Niehoff on the NFHS website, click here