Prior to the year 1955, there were only six full-time Athletic Directors in the State of Texas. They were:
Joe Tusa-Houston ISD
Claud E. Kellam-San Antonio ISD
Herman Clark-Fort Worth ISD
P.C. Cobb-Dallas ISD
L.W. McConachie-El Paso ISD (Later Executive Director of THSCA)
Toney Burger– Austin ISD
School populations grew rapidly and the need for more oversight of athletic programs became very evident. Soon more Athletic Directors were added to the following cities:
Dee Walker-Amarillo ISD
Buddy Brothers-Lubbock ISD
Tonto Coleman-Ector County ISD
Chatter Allen-Corpus Christi ISD
The timing was almost perfect for the creation of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association. In the spring of 1970, Athletic Directors from across Texas and the National Health/Physical Education Association met in Houston. At that time many Athletic Directors also served as administrators over health and physical education in their districts. While attending this meeting it was decided by those Athletic Directors in attendance that they have a sub-meeting to share specific ideas and ask questions as prior to this, there were no opportunities to do so. Joe Tusa of Houston ISD arranged the meeting location. Those individuals in attendance at the first meeting were:
Joe Tusa-Houston ISD
Joe Golding-Wichita Falls ISD
Chuck Moser-Abilene ISD
Shorty Lawson-Abilene ISD
Stoney Phillips-Pasadena ISD
Pete Sultis-Goose Creek ISD
Lon Goldstein-Fort Worth ISD
James Willingham-Fort Worth ISD
Bob Shelton-Dallas ISD
Barry Ehlert-San Antonio ISD
Tom Pruett-Victoria ISD
Howland Reich-Port Arthur ISD
Homer Johnson-Garland ISD
Allan Boren-Klein ISD
C.E. Haynes-Corpus Christi ISD
Gerald Meyers-Pasadena ISD
Bob Harrel-Irving ISD
Bull Workman-Arlington ISD
Winlon Knowles-Pine Tree ISD
Armando Gutierrez-El Paso ISD
Joe Bill Fox-North East ISD
Kelly Horn-North East ISD
During this meeting, the discussion moved to forming a state organization specifically for Athletic Administrators. The new group would continue close ties with the THSCA but have an independent Charter, Board of Directors and By Laws. The decision was made to form the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association. The first officers of this new Association were:
Joe Bill Fox-President
Stoney Phillips-Vice President
The group decided to hold the first independent meeting of the THSADA in San Antonio the week after the state basketball tournament in 1971. The main goals established at this time were to improve the means of communication within the schools of Texas and fill a needed role for athletic administrators within districts and throughout the State of Texas.
The first meeting of the THSADA was held in San Antonio at the La Mansion Hotel and was deemed a success. There was no budget allocated so the hotel allowed the THSADA to defer payment until after the Conference. Attendance was over 50 individuals. The next two meetings were in the same hotel with Lon Goldstein and Stoney Phillips presiding.
“I cannot compliment these early day members enough for their willingness to contribute in any way possible. I cannot begin to list the names of those involved but every large school district and section of the state was represented. These early day leaders have paved the way for an organization that is held in such high esteem as it is today”. Joe Bill Fox-former President-THSADA.
From that time until March 2012 – the THSADA was a volunteer organization. There was no established, consistent leadership as it was believed that there was no need for it as the membership numbers were never very significant. However, the THSADA Board of Directors and President made a decision to grow the Association and to elevate the profile of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association, so the first ever Executive Director of the THSADA was selected in March 2012. Rusty Dowling, formerly Director of Athletics for the Katy ISD, was hired to oversee the organizational and administrative concerns of the THSADA.
The leadership model of the THSADA was changed in July of 2014 to better represent all areas of the State of Texas. An annual membership election for the office of Vice President takes place every year with the process of the VP moving through the administrative positions of Vice President, then to President-elect then eventually into the position of President. Three additional Board members were selected to fully represent all eight regions of the THSADA. The Board Historian and Board Secretary were re-purposed to permanent, non-voting members of the Board.
The event calendar for the THSADA has become more established. Along with the annual THSADA State Conference that is held every June, the THSADA also sponsors a two-day Fall Forum event for all its members in October and a Spring Sponsor Showcase, held in early March, which is an event that brings THSADA members and THSADA sponsors together for a two-day event. Regular Region monthly meetings occur throughout the state that brings THSADA members together on a regular basis to discuss those athletic concerns and issues that face all athletic administrators during the calendar year. The establishment of committees were organized to assist the THSADA in doing the work of the Association was also critical and allowed for additional member engagement.
THSADA, now in its 51st year, is the professional and educational Association for more than 1,500 secondary athletics administrators at more than 1,800 institutions throughout the State of Texas. More than 700 athletics administrators annually attend THSADA’s State Conference. THSADA members manage over $600 million dollars in athletic budget considerations for over one million student-athletes.