News Article
Taking Over for a Legend
As I sit down to share a few thoughts, I am both excited and saddened.  This summer, I will officially take over the responsibilities of leading the NSIAAA as the Executive Director.  Although I am looking forward to the challenge and opportunity, it comes at the decision of the one and only leader of the NSIAAA, Mr. Mike Purdy, who is stepping away from the job.

Mike moved into the role sixteen years ago when many state AD associations were creating the executive director’s position. The additional duties of those groups started to expand and become more time consuming.  If I remember correctly, he was still a working AD at Bellevue East at the time this occurred.  Mike has been the ONLY Executive Director of the NSIAAA, so the shoes to fill are big ones.  Needless to say, he took on the role to help others in our association - something Mike has always prided himself in.  Our NSIAAA grew because of his leadership and direction, something I hope to be able to continue.

There was never a challenge that Mike did not face up to, even as some lingering health issues got in the way.  Serving on the executive leadership of the board during this time made me appreciate all he was able and willing to do, even when most would have said enough is enough.  He continued to lead when he could, and our board carried on with Mike’s guidance.
To say this was not easy might be an understatement for what Mike has gone through.  We are all happy that these issues are under control and Mike and Sophie and their family will have more time upcoming for just themselves.  He has given so much of himself for the NSIAAA, and will be greatly missed, but always remembered and welcomed back to our events at his choosing!

I did not anticipate taking over the NSIAAA Executive Directors position when I retired from an educational career of thirty-nine years, with 24 of those as an athletic director at two schools.  In my time serving the NSIAAA on its Executive Board, I learned much in how the association helps provide support and education to our State’s AD’s.  I am excited for the direction the NSIAAA is heading, while hoping to serve our state’s AD’s in one of the most difficult times in their careers.  I am hopeful that more of our members get involved in the NIAAA Leadership Training Program and work to become a Certified AD (RAA, CAA, or CMAA), something that gives each more respect and knowledge in their duties and communities.  We have a very active NSIAAA Board, and I look forward to serving them as we move forward in positive ways for our association.

In closing - Thank you, Mike Purdy!  For leading the way, showing us the path, and pointing us in the right direction to serve not only Nebraska’s Athletic Directors, but the students we all serve in educationally based activities.   Your legacy will be remembered forever, but never gone from what you have given to others over all your time in the position.  I hope to be up to the challenge of taking over for “The Legend”!
Author: Bill Fitzgerald, CMAA