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|IHSA Assistant Executive Director Gannaway Retiring
|Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Assistant Executive Director Dave Gannaway announced Tuesday that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2009-10 school term, his 11th on the IHSA staff.
Gannaway became the 22nd administrator in the IHSA's history when he joined the staff in 1999 after 23 years as a teacher, coach and administrator in Illinois. Gannaway enters the 2009-10 school year as the longest tenured male Assistant Executive Director on the IHSA staff.
Gannaway is currently the administrator for boy's football, boy's wrestling, boy's baseball and bass fishing. He also serves as the Director of Officials, overseeing all aspects related to the 12,500-plus high school officials currently working in the state. Gannaway previously administered the sport of softball during his tenure with the IHSA and continues to run the IHSA's wheelchair basketball tournament as a part of the March Madness Experience.
"I don't even know where to start when reflecting on my time at the IHSA," said Gannaway. "There are too many great people and too many great memories, that it wouldn't do any of them justice to try rank them or say thank you to all the people who were a part of it."
Gannaway was one of the driving forces behind the IHSA's bass fishing state tournament, which will contest its second season as a sanctioned IHSA activity during the 2009-10 school year. The IHSA became the first high school state association in the country to host a high school bass fishing state championship on May 8-9, 2009. West Frankfort (Frankfort) won the IHSA's inaugural bass fishing tournament on Carlyle Lake in Carlyle.
"Dave has been an innovator throughout his entire career," said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. "He brought forth the idea of the IHSA Bass Fishing State Tournament to our Board and worked tirelessly with his fishing colleagues to implement a tournament structure that could work at this level. In addition, he has helped build the annual IHSA Officials Convention into the premier event of its kind in the country. Dave has had a direct affect on thousands of students' and officials' decisions to get involved with high school sports and activities."
Prior to joining the IHSA, Gannaway was one of the key constituents in rebuilding the Bloomington/Normal Holiday Basketball Tournament, which has grown to become the largest holiday tournament in the country. His colleagues recognized his initiative several times throughout his career, as the Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association named him the Administrator of the Year in 1992, the Illinois Athletic Directors Association awarded him Athletic Director of the Year accolades in 1993 and in 1998 he was the recipient of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association's Illinois State Award of Merit.
A 1971 graduate of Normal (University) High School, Gannaway earned his Bachelor's Degree in Education from Illinois State University (ISU) in 1975 and later returned to ISU to complete a Master's Degree in Education in 1989.
Gannaway spent the first five years of his career in education as a teacher and coach at Metamora High School, prior to returning to his high school alma mater in 1981. He spent three years at Normal (University) teaching and coaching before ascending to the role of Activities Director in 1985, a position he held until 1994. Gannaway's final stop before joining the IHSA came as the Activities Director at Morton High School.
Gannaway was well established within the IHSA before he joined the staff, having served as the manager of the IHSA Dual Team Wrestling State Final Tournament from 1990-1996.
"To say Dave will be missed would be the ultimate understatement," added Hickman. "Dave is beloved around this state because of his ability to strike the perfect balance between a fun-loving character and one of the finest professionals in the business. He will be a tough act to follow!"
Gannaway and his wife Nola, a teacher at Morton High School, reside in Mackinaw and have two married children and one granddaughter: son Dan and his wife Rachel and their daughter Quinn Marie, and daughter Joy and her husband Tim Gronewold.
Gannaway reflected on his career at the IHSA. "I really have enjoyed my time working here. There is probably no better way to say how lucky I feel than to say that I don't feel like I have worked a day in my life."
(Illinois High School Association)