General History of the Association
Historical Perspective of the
New York State Athletic Administrators Association, Inc.
The National Federation began sponsoring conferences for athletic administrators in the early 1970’s. In the middle 70’s a few New York State athletic administrators began to attend these national meetings. While at these meetings several New York State athletic administrators knew that the purpose and objectives of the national conference would certainly fit well in New York State.
In 1981, Dave Martens hosted a meeting of: Otis Sennett, Don Distin, Mason Morenus, Max Lederer and a couple of other athletic directors in Dave’s office. This was the beginning of the concept of forming a state association exclusively for athletic directors. Other meetings were conducted and the NYSAAA was encouraged to proceed by the Council of Administrators, a section of the NYSAHPERD. The National Federation’s organization was used as the organizational model. Directors in each of the NYSPHSAA were selected to represent their area.
Later that year, eight Athletic Directors contributed $10.00 each at a meeting in Binghamton, hosted by Joseph Farrell (Binghamton), and thus began the treasury. Those eight AD's were Don Distin (Fulton), Robert Douglas (Section I), Joseph Farrell (Binghamton), Alan Mallanda (Homer), David Martens (Fairport), Mason Morenus (Cortland), Bernie O'Brien (Section XI), and Otis Sennett (Baldwinsville). Officers were elected. Dave Martens, President, Don Distin, Past President, and Bernie O’Brien, Treasurer.
The first NYSAAA conference was held in Liverpool, near Syracuse, in March of 1983 and 190 were in attendance. Otis Sennett served as program chairperson and reservation chair. Steve Karbon of Minneapolis, MN, was the exhibit and meal chairperson (he obtained 27 exhibitors). Dave Martens, as president, was an “awful worry wart”. Otis kept telling Dave not to worry because he (Otis) would take care of it. Dave’s replay to Otis was, “That’s what worries me, you’re taking care of it.”
In 1984, Bob Douglas was president for the conference in Tarrytown, NY, and had secured some corporate sponsorship from the New York Mets and the Yankees, thanks to George Steinbrenner. Dave Martens also secured corporate sponsorship from Champion Products and Eastman Kodak. Roy O’Neill and Chapter 1 were conference planners in 1984.
In 1985, Bob Ryan was the new president and the third conference was held in Saratoga Springs, NY. Jack Rentz and Ray Waldron were program chair and host and the association was off to the races. The executive committee removed Steve Karbon from the conference and turned the exhibit chair to Otis Sennett with assistance from John McCleery. There were 70 exhibits sold. Our treasury really started to grow. “Excellence in Athletics” was the conference theme.
IN 1986, Roy O’Neill was president and the conference was held in Rochester, NY. There were 94 exhibitors in attendance. During this period in the association’s history, it was decided after long discussions and deliberation and due to philosophical differences, the association representative board, after input from the grass root, decided that we would incorporate as a not-for-profit organization. Jack McCleery and Bill Guerrera were conference planners. “Athletics, the Other Half of Education” was the conference theme.
In 1987, Alan Mallanda was president and the conference theme was “Academic and Athletics, Excellence in Education.” The association approved the hiring of an Executive Director. Past President, Roy O’Neill, was selected. It was the association’s first conference at the Concord Hotel. Paul Munley and Dean Ouderkirk were the conference planners.
In 1988, Jack McCleery was president and our conference was at the Rye Town Hilton. One of the guests was Tom Frederick (now deceased) of the National Federation staff and the “great white father” of the National Athletic Administrators Association’s conference. Rod Mergardt and Robert Bayer were the conference planners. The conference theme was “Making a Commitment to Excellence in Athletics.”
In 1989, the conference returned to Saratoga Springs for the second time. Bob Sullivan was president and John Foley and Ray Waldron were conference planners. During Bob’s tenure as president, the voucher system and finance committee was approved. It gave the association a system of checks and balance. Bob encouraged the association to join the New York Council of Educational Associations. The conference theme was “At the Threshold of the Nineties.”
In 1990, Bill Guerrera was president and the conference was held in Niagara Falls. Doug Westcott and Jim Trampert were conference planners. The association welcomed Catherine Gallagher as our new Conference registrar and treasurer. Jack Cashman accepted the conference exhibits chair. Conference theme was “Working Together to Shape the Future of Athletics.”
We returned to the Concord Hotel in 1991 for the second time. Jim Runyan was president and Tom Skidmore and Roger Myers were the conference planners. The theme was “Managing the Job.” Under the direction of President Runyan, Tom Skidmore put together the “Handbook for Athletics” for the New York State Athletic Administrators Association. Then and now, a must for every athletic director in the State.
In 1992, we held our conference in Saratoga Springs with Paul Harrison as president. The theme was “First and Ten.” It was our 10th conference. Mason Morenus and Ray Waldron were the conference planners. The association honored those exhibitors in attendance for 10 years. The austerity budget is growing strong as a major issue in the state.
In 1993, Doug Prato took over as president and challenged all athletic administrators in New York to “Sending the Right Message.” “Project Model” was developed as a positive Public Relations Program was established. The “Project” found its way to Section I of the NIAAA. It was well received in the New England states. “Sending the Right Messages” was the conference theme and Don Webster and Ray Waldron were the conference planners.
In 1994, Howard Meyer as president facilitated two representative board meetings to establish long and short range goals and provide the future direction of NYSAAA. Our conference was in Saratoga and our theme was “Strong in Tradition with a Vision for Tomorrow.” Jack McCleery and Richard English were conference planners. The professional development of athletic administrators was now at the forefront of the association.
In 1995, the conference moved to the Hotel Syracuse. Our president, Tom Skidmore’s theme was “Working Together We Can Make a Difference.” The workshops provided a variety of ideas that may help you to better manage your position. Under the direction of Lloyd Mott and the resolutions committee they promoted bills to include interscholastic athletics in contingency budgets. Ron Grastorf and Roger Myers were conference planners.
In 1996, Jim Rishe had the entire conference constructed around the conference theme, “The Ties that Bind Us are the Values We Teach.” As administrators, we have a responsibility to teach good values of citizenship and sportsmanship. Rickey Bearor and Paul Harrica were conference planners.
In 1997, Dennis Fries was the association’s 15th president. “Character and Citizenship, the Cornerstones of Athletic Competition” was the theme of the conference. The mentoring program was expanded during Dennis’ tenure. Howard Meyer continued to seek out, encourage and mentor from the organization tomorrow’s leaders, thereby better utilizing the abilities and skills of our membership and ensuring the continued strength of our organization. John Pelin and Rich Kaplun were conference planners.
The 1998 conference was held in Albany. Jim Trampert was the association’s president and the theme was “Setting the Athletic Stage to Meet Life’s Other Challenges.” Pat Burke and Brett Banker were the conference planners. Roger Brown picked up the ball from Lloyd on the contingency budget. Our thank you reception with the legislators at the conference was well attended. Jim heard that the bill had passed while in attendance at the NYSPHSAA. Our appreciation and thanks to so many who worked for the passage of the “bill.”
The 1999 conference returned to Saratoga Springs and the theme selected by president, Paul Munley, was “Bearing the Torch into the 21st Century.” Bill Bryant was the conference planner for the association’s 17th annual conference. The strong involvement with the grass roots was evident and the initial NIAAA and NYSAAA leadership course was held at the conference. In the planning stages of the Leadership Training Program, Alan Mallanda was appointed as the State Coordinator of the Leadership Program. Bill Ross taught the first course to 20 athletic directors in the state. Paul Munley and Bill Bryant offered another great conference.
A special note of thanks to Otis Sennett and Howard Meyer who provided information for the developed of this document.
Roy O’Neill, November 23, 1999