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KHSAA Commissioner DeVries Announces Retirement
December 17, 2009Kentucky High School Athletic Association
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Lexington, Ky. -- Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Commissioner Brigid DeVries announced at a press conference on Wednesday that she will retire after 30-plus years of employment with the organization. Her retirement will be effective July 9, 2010.
DeVries was named the sixth Commissioner of the KHSAA on July 1, 2002, after serving as Executive Assistant Commissioner for eight years and Assistant Commissioner for 15 years. As Commissioner, DeVries has been responsible for providing leadership and execution of interscholastic athletics for the Association's 277 member schools and some 50,000 interscholastic athletic participants throughout Kentucky.
DeVries, the first female to head the KHSAA and only the fifth woman to head a state high school athletic association, was the sixth individual to serve as Commissioner of the Association, following Louis Stout (1994-2002), Billy V. Wise (1991-94), Tom Mills (1976-91), Joe Billy Mansfield (1972-76) and Ted Sanford (1947-72).
As Assistant and Executive Assistant Commissioner, DeVries handled day-to-day management of the sports of golf, volleyball, swimming & diving, tennis and track & field. She also conducted rules clinics, recruited workers and officials and managed State Tournament competition in those sports.
She is well-known on the national level, having served on numerous committees for the National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) from rules to governance. She served on the NFHS Board of Directors from 2002-05, and was Chair of the national rules committee for swimming & diving. She also spent time as a member of the Strategic Planning and Gender Equity committees. Currently she serves on the NFHS Foundation Board of Directors. DeVries received an NFHS Citation for her service to the organization in 1999 and was recognized by the Kentucky Department of Education for her contribution to women's athletics in Kentucky.
During her tenure, the debt on the KHSAA Office Headquarters in Lexington was retired two years early. DeVries also helped establish a statewide radio network for the Forcht Bank KHSAA State Baseball Tournament and the Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl, as well as the expansion of the existing statewide radio network for the Boys' and Girls' Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournaments. The Association's branding and marketing efforts and revenue have risen dramatically during her tenure, thanks to a partnership with iHigh.com. DeVries has also been instrumental in the continued development of the KHSAA Museum.
Under her leadership the KHSAA has taken a major proactive role in emphasizing Title IX. This has led to increasing participation opportunities for girls in the sports of volleyball, soccer and fast pitch softball and golf. Additionally, overall high school playoff participation for boys increased also, as demonstrated by the change from four football classes to six in 2007.
"During my 30 years with the KHSAA it has been an honor to have been a part of unprecedented growth of Association programs and sports opportunities for both boys and girls," DeVries said. "Emphasizing education based programs while promoting the values of sportsmanship, participation, integrity and safety have always been at the core of our operations during my tenure. A lot of the credit for the success of the Association goes to a very capable and hard working staff. I will miss them but know that these individuals along with the Board of Control are in an excellent position to continue to offer and expand education based interscholastic programs for high school students. I have no doubt that they will move the Association to the next level while addressing the many challenges facing the world of amateur sports."
A Kentucky native, DeVries graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts in 1971. She began her career as a physical education teacher at Nicholas County Elementary School in 1971. She returned to the University of Kentucky in 1973 as a Graduate Assistant for the Department of Campus recreation and earned a Master of Science in 1975.
DeVries served as Women's Intercollegiate Swimming & Diving and Track & Field coach at Ohio University from 1976-79 and head men's and women's diving coach at the University of Kentucky from 1980-90. She is a member of the University of Kentucky's Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame.
KHSAA Board of Control president David Weedman stated that the Board of Control would finalize plans for Commissioner DeVries' replacement at its January 13 meeting, with a tentative plan to announce a new commissioner later in 2010.
"We appreciate all Brigid has done for the Association for the past 30 years, including the past eight as Commissioner," said KHSAA Board of Control President David Weedman. "She has dedicated much of her adult life to the noble idea of expanding participation opportunities for all of Kentucky's interscholastic student-athletes, while doing it in a way that brings out the best qualities athletics has to offer - through integrity, sportsmanship, safety and equity. Not only has she dedicated herself to those principles on behalf of the KHSAA, she is a model for coaches, administrators and student-athletes by the way she displays these characteristics through her actions every day. We wish her nothing but the best as she looks forward to a new and exciting chapter in her life."
KHSAA Past Commissioners