Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (VIAAA) - The History of the VIAAA - Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (VIAAA) - The History of the VIAAA
Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association


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The History of the VIAAA

The Virginia High School League (VHSL) is the state service and administrative organization of public high school athletics and activities.  The object of the League is to foster among its member schools a broad program of supervised competitions and desirable school activities as an aid in the total education of students.

In 1968, Earl Gillespie, who was then Assistant Executive Secretary of the VHSL, had the wisdom and foresight to involve a group of athletic directors to assist him in planning and conducting the first Virginia High School Athletic Directors Conference.  The primary purpose of this and subsequent conferences sponsored by the League was to promote the progression, growth and image of interscholastic athletic administrators, and to secure greater involvement of athletic directors in the planning and implementation of all phases of the League’s athletic program.

The following athletic directors were on Mr. Gillespie’s planning committee for the first conference held in March 1968:  George Graybill, Patrick Henry High School, Roanoke; Andrew Landis, Woodrow Wilson High School, Portsmouth; Hunter Maddex, Handley High School, Winchester; and John Youngblood, Washington-Lee High School, Arlington.  These athletic directors, and Mr. Gillespie were the sole presenters on the conference program.

The annual conferences of high school athletics, coordinated by Mr. Gillespie from 1968-73, were held in conjunction with the March VHSL Group Boards and Legislative Council Meetings, and the state basketball tournaments.  The conference sessions were held at University Hall, University of Virginia.  The 1968 through 1972 conference sessions were held on Friday and Saturday mornings.  As many presentations as possible were added to the 1969-1972 conference programs.

The reaction to the initial conference program by the attendees in 1968 was very satisfying and rewarding.  As a result, there was increased interest and involvement of athletic directors in subsequent conferences sponsored by the League.

As the attendees at the annual conference exchanged ideas and current practices concerning the organization and administration of athletics at the school, district, regional and state levels, considerable interest developed in forming a state professional organization for high school athletic directors.  In 1972, Mr. Gillespie appointed a committee to develop a constitution and by-laws for a state athletic directors association and an officers nominating committee.  These committees held meetings in the Fall of 1972.  Earl Gillespie held a meeting in January 1973 with eight athletic directors to make plans for the formation of the Virginia State High School Athletic Directors Association (VSHSADA), and to develop a program for the March athletic directors conference.  The committee reviewed the report of the Constitution Committee and approved it after making one revision.  The committee also reviewed and approved the report of the Officers Nominating Committee.  The committee then expanded the conference program with the first session commencing on Thursday afternoon.  Sessions were also held on Friday and Saturday mornings as usual.

The athletic directors in attendance at the January 1973 meeting were Willie Barnett, Lane High School, Charlottesville; Jack Daniels, Hopewell High School; Ken French, William Fleming High School, Roanoke; Charles Harkins, Marion High School, Marion; Mason Lockridge, Luray High School, Luray; Dick Lotts, Waynesboro High School, Waynesboro; Fred Street, Maury High School, Norfolk; and John Youngblood, Washington-lee High School, Arlington.

In February 1973, a meeting was held with Mr. Gillespie to finalize plans for the March conference.  The Officers Nominating Committee reported that the athletic directors being placed in nomination were:  Mason Lockridge, Luray High School; Larry Pence, Turner Ashby High School; John Youngblood, Washington-Lee High School.

On Thursday, March 8, 1973, at the opening session of the athletic directors conference, the VSHSADA was founded.  The attendees adopted the proposed constitution and By-laws for the Association and the slate of officers submitted by the Officers Nominating Committee.

The first officers of the Association, elected for two-year terms, were:  President – John Youngblood, Washington-Lee High School; Vice-President – Larry Pence, Turner Ashby High School; and Secretary-Treasurer – Mason Lockridge, Luray High School.

The Association Executive Committee was comprised of the officers and 12 representatives.  The first regional representatives, elected for four-year terms, are listed below:

(Region A)
Bob Fraser
West Point H.S.

(Region I)
Brent Vann
John Yeates H.S.

(Central Region)
Jack Daniels
Hopewell H.S.


(Region B)
Russell Douglas
Goochland H.S.

(Region II)
George Spaulding
Bowling Green H.S.

(Eastern Region)
Jerry Turley
Denbigh H.S.


(Region C)
Albert McCown
Parry McCluer H.S.

(Region III)
Bunker Hill
Brookville H.S.

(Northern Region)
Jim England
Robert E. Lee H.S.


(Region D)
Jim Dotson
J.I. Burton H.S.

(Region IV)
Charlie Harkins
Marion H.S.

(Northwest Region)
Ken French
William Fleming H.S.

Earl Gillespie, VHSL, was appointed to serve as an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.

In the first year of the Association, 1973-74, there were 183 members.  The first Association newsletter, “The Virginia Athletic Director,” was published in November 1973.  The newsletters published in the 1973-74 school year were sponsored by the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., Washington D.C.

Each year since the founding of the VSHSADA, the Association has experienced increased growth and acceptance as a viable, informative, and accessible professional organization.  The VSHSADA, a partner in athletic administration with the VHSL, will be forever grateful for the role of the League staff, particularly Earl Gillespie, in the establishment of the VSHSADA.

The VSHSADA membership on April 1, 1995, voted at the annual business meeting to change the association name to the Virginia Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (VIAAA).

In 1998, Independent schools and middle schools were included in the membership of the VIAAA and representatives were selected.  These groups selected representatives that are members of the Board of Directors.



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