THSADA Spotlight: Jeff Lillibridge

jeff_lillibridge_320This may not be your typical THSADA spotlight, but I am very honored that Kathy and Rusty asked me to introduce myself and tell you all a little bit about my background and how I help the THSADA. I helped create and currently maintain this website – – from a technical perspective. How I got here is likely one of the most circuitous paths you can imagine…

I studied Sport Management with an emphasis in marketing at Bowling Green State University. My first “real world” experience was my internship with the St. Petersburg Devil Rays in 1998, a minor league affiliate at the time for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I would equate working in minor league baseball to the role of an athletic director: You do it ALL, the entry-level pay is very low, and you work VERY long hours. But it was through this experience that I found a true passion of mine – working with computers, websites and the Internet. I still remember the day my GM asked me to create a website for the ball club. I had never done anything close to it, nor did I have the proper training, but I was certainly up for learning it on my own and accepting the challenge. That experience was really the fist stepping stone for me to continue doing this type of work for the Detroit Pistons for six years. I believe I got in at the perfect time as the Internet world was really just starting the blow up and I was able to learn as I went, just like all of the other “experts” in the field who were adopting the newest trends and technology.

When my wife and I decided it was time to move back home closer to family in Ohio, I was fortunate that a very similar role was open with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I worked behind the scenes on, providing fans around the world content of “The Chosen One” in his first stint with the Wine & Gold. Working in professional sports for an owner who fully believes in digital allowed me to grow professionally for the seven years I was with the team. I did things I never I imagined I would – from recording video interviews of LeBron James in the locker room to posting Dan Gilbert’s famous letter after “The Decision” to creating – a niche social network just for Cavs fans.

But as my wife and I decided to start a family, I knew working the long hours in professional sports would be difficult. I knew I was ready for the next chapter. I joined Home Team Marketing in 2013 and one of my first projects was to help THSADA redesign their website. Home Team Marketing is the 2017 State Conference Title Sponsor this year and in addition to the assistance with the website, one of our major initiatives is a digital ticketing solution for high schools. I’ve worked closely with Rusty and Kathy for the last few years and it’s been great learning about one of the best run Athletic Director associations in the country. I would actually call Kathy a friend before a colleague because she has made me feel so very welcomed into the THSADA family. Much of what I do is behind the scenes which is why you have likely not heard of me before today. However, I do hope to meet you all face to face one day at an upcoming conference or an event. I am proud to be affiliated with the THSADA.

If you’d like to connect with me on LinkedIN, you can click on my profile here: or if you are on Twitter, you can follow me @DigitaLilli.

Hope to see you around!

Jeff Lillibridge
Digital Consultant – Home Team Marketing
Owner – Lillibridge Digital, LLC

THSADA Spotlight: THSADA Vice President

Debbie Decker - Katy ISD-Region 5

Region 5 – Debbie Decker – Katy ISD

Executive Director of Athletics
15 years as an Athletic Administrator
THSADA Service:  Current Chair of the Awards Committee (served 3 years), served on various Host Committees over the last 14 years

Candidate Goals for the THSADA:
To build on the current initiative to provide professional development to all members of THSADA
Continue to strengthen the relationship with the UIL and work closely with them concerning the C&CR re-write, guidelines, committees and training for coaches/administrators.
Explore opportunities of having our association build a stronger relationship with the Texas Association of School Administrators

Candidate Growth Plan for THSADA:
The key to growing THSADA membership is to continue to provide value for THSADA members
Membership growth relies on the association ability to effectively communicate the value of membership to current and potential members.

THSADA Spotlight: Bob DeJonge

DeJonge_Headshot01Wow, I can’t believe another school year has already begun!  As I begin my 34th year in education I can tell you that each new year brings the same level of excitement that I experienced way back in 1981.  My teaching and coaching career started in Texarkana as a middle school coach.  In 1983 I took a job at Liberty Eylau High School coaching football and track and teaching various science classes.  In 1991 our family moved to Keller where we have been ever since.  I worked for several years as a football and track coach and in 2000 moved into my current role as the Director of Athletics.  During my time in Keller we have grown from a one high school town to four 5A high schools and six middle schools serving over 7,000 student athletes.

I think all of us in this profession are lifetime learners.  Over the course of my career I’ve evolved from focusing on the X’s and O’s of sports to the relationships that coaches and AD’s need to have with our stakeholders.  I truly believe that the very best AD’s and the most successful coaches are also the best communicators.  We have to build trust and have a rapport with our peers, our communities and all of the athletes we represent.  That being said the most important thing we can do as an athletic director is to hire people that are successful at communicating with all three groups.  Hiring is an imperfect science but when we do it right our kids are the beneficiaries and that is what it’s all about!

I’ve been a member of our organization for 13 years now and I am just amazed at the growth we have experienced over the last few years.  Our progress has everything to do with establishing a vision and a direction for the association.  The establishment of the Executive Directors office, the focus on providing professional development opportunities for athletic administrators in all classifications and the marketing element we have added all have contributed to the ever increasing health of THSADA.

I am thrilled to be part of our organization and excited about the challenges this new year will bring.

Best of luck to all of you!

Bob DeJonge