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NFHS to Host In-Person Summer Meeting in Orlando; Virtual Coverage Provided for Select Events

By NFHS on June 22, 2021 nfhs news Print

After utilizing a virtual format last year, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will host guests in Orlando, Florida, for its 102nd Summer Meeting June 28-July 2. This year’s meeting will be conducted at the Orlando World Center Marriott and will mark the ninth time the event has been held in the state of Florida, and the first time since its original staging in Orlando in 2006.

The NFHS, an organization that has provided leadership for high school athletics and performing arts since its founding in 1920, is composed of state high school associations in the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. Though not all member associations will have representatives in attendance at the 2021 Summer Meeting, it is expected that approximately 500 association staff members, board members and other national high school activities leaders from around the country will be present.

The Summer Meeting Luncheon, Hall of Fame Press Conference and Hall of Fame Banquet – three of the most renowned NFHS Summer Meeting events – will be streamed live on the NFHS Network (www.NFHSNetwork.com) at no cost. A selection of the meeting’s 42 workshops, roundtables and general sessions is also available as part of this year’s virtual package.

The Summer Meeting will kick off on June 29 at 12:30 p.m. EDT with the Opening Ceremony and “We Are High School®” student program, along with the NFHS presentations of the National High School Spirit of Sport Award and the National High School Heart of the Arts Award.

Hayden Holton of Elmore County (Alabama) High School will receive the National High School Spirit of Sport Award and Kylen Running Hawk of Morris Area (Minnesota) High School will receive the National High School Heart of the Arts Award.

The First General Session will follow the Opening Ceremony at 1:15 p.m. EDT on June 29 and features Erik Wahl, an internationally recognized artist, TED Talk speaker and No. 1 bestselling author.

The Second General Session on June 30 will feature NFHS President Kerwin Urhahn, NFHS Executive Director Karissa Niehoff and other staff members, and the Closing General Session on July 2 will feature speaker Lesley Visser, a hall of fame sports broadcaster and writer.

Both the 2020 and 2021 classes of NFHS Citation winners – a total of 20 individuals – will be recognized at the Summer Meeting Luncheon at 11 a.m. EDT on June 30. State association honorees from the 2020 class include Tom Mezzanotte of Rhode Island, Mark Byers of Pennsylvania, Nessie Harris of South Carolina, Kurt Gibson of Illinois, Kathy Long of Missouri, Paul Angelico of Colorado, Thomas Yoshida of Hawaii and Russell Schreckenghost of Alaska.

Four other individuals in the 2020 class will receive Citations on behalf of the four NFHS professional associations. Joe Tonelli of Connecticut is the recipient of the NFHS Officials Association Citation; Rob Younger of Oregon will be awarded a Citation from the NFHS Coaches Association; Cathleen Britton of South Dakota will be recognized on behalf of the NFHS Music Association; and Cheryl Frazier of Illinois will receive a Citation from the NFHS Speech, Debate, Theatre and Academics Association.

The 2021 class of NFHS Citation recipients is made up of Sherry Bryant of Massachusetts, Kelly Geddis of West Virginia, Mark Dreibelbis of North Carolina, Kathy Vruggink Westdorp of Michigan, Lisa Lissimore of Minnesota, Mike Plunkett of Oklahoma, Brian Bolitho of Arizona and Brian Michelotti of Montana.

For the first time since 2015, the Luncheon will also feature an NFHS Award of Merit presentation to Dr. R. Dawn Comstock of Colorado, a public health director who spearheaded the National High School Sports-Related Surveillance System (High School RIO) from 2004 to 2020. In that time, Comstock’s surveillance system produced crucial data regarding concussions in young athletes and led to her involvement with several sports-related children’s health committees and panels.

The Summer Meeting Luncheon can be accessed on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evte2fac406bd.

Among the workshop topics that will be discussed during the NFHS Summer Meeting are transgender athletes, negotiating facility contracts, promoting multi-activity students, post-pandemic activity reclassifications, post-pandemic eligibility changes, and the appropriate time to hold a state championship for an emerging sport.

 In addition, the Legal/Sports Medicine Workshop – one of the most popular workshops each year – will be held at 1:30 p.m. on July 1. This event provides an ideal opportunity to discuss current legal and medical issues.

The Hall of Fame Press Conference will be held at 12 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 1, followed by the Hall of Fame Banquet and induction ceremony at 6 p.m. EDT Thursday evening.

The Hall of Fame Press Conference can be accessed on the NFHS Network at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt996729ab4b and the Hall of Fame Banquet can be accessed at https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtfb1ffdd8eb.

(See full listing of events that will be streamed live at the end of this release.)

Twelve individuals will be inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on July 1, including Dave Logan of Colorado, Tim Couch of Kentucky, Matt Holliday of Oklahoma and Alex English of South Carolina. The other three athletes in the class are all female stars who earned Olympic gold medals: Karyn Bye of Wisconsin, Maicel Malone of Indiana and Michele Smith of New Jersey.

Logan was a three-sport standout (football, basketball and baseball) at Wheat Ridge (Colorado) High School in the early 1970s and was drafted by teams in all three professional sports. He was a two-sport star at the University of Colorado and then was a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns (eight years) and Denver Broncos (one year). In his second career also worthy of Hall of Fame notice, Logan has coached four different Denver-area schools to nine state high school football championships during the past 27 years.  

Couch had a record-setting football career as a quarterback at Leslie County High School In Hyden, Kentucky, in the mid-1990s. Couch set three national career passing records – 872 completions, 12,104 yards and 133 touchdowns. He was named National Player of the Year as a senior. Couch also excelled in basketball, leading the state in scoring as a senior with 37 points per game. He had a stellar career at the University of Kentucky and played five years with the Cleveland Browns.  

Holliday was a three-sport player – and two-sport star – at Stillwater (Oklahoma) High School in the late 1990s. As a quarterback in football for three years, Holliday passed for 68 touchdowns. He was a four-year starter in baseball and hit .443 as a senior with 12 home runs. He played with four teams during his 20-year professional baseball career, which ended in 2018 with the Colorado Rockies. Holliday was second in the MVP voting with the Rockies in 2007 and won a World Series in 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals.  

English is perhaps the greatest basketball in history in the state of South Carolina. He was a three-time all-state selection and Player of the Year at Dreher High School in Columbia, and he was the leading scorer in University of South Carolina history. English played 16 years in the National Basketball Association, including 10 years with the Denver Nuggets when he scored 2,000 points in eight consecutive seasons.  

Bye was a three-sport star at River Falls (Wisconsin) High School in the late 1980s and was a trailblazer for girls in the sport of ice hockey in the state. She was team captain and three-time all-conference while playing on the River Falls boys hockey team. She also played tennis and softball. She later excelled in ice hockey at the University of New Hampshire and played on the 1998 Olympic women’s ice hockey team that won a gold medal.  

Malone was a track and field star at North Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, from 1984 to 1987. She won 11 of a possible 12 state titles in the three sprints (100, 200, 400)   during her four years at North Central.  She set state records in all three events and helped North Central to two state championships. She later won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics as a part of the 400-meter relay team.  

Smith was a three-sport athlete at Voorhees High School in Glen Gardner, New Jersey. She participated in field hockey, basketball and softball, which became her top sport. Smith had a 51-6 record with 11 no-hitters as a pitcher and helped her team to the state title as a junior. She had an outstanding career at Oklahoma State University with an 82-20 record and was the starting pitcher for the U.S. Olympic teams that won gold medals in 1996 and 2000.

Three outstanding coaches will be inducted in this year’s class, including Rickey Baker, who led Hopi High School in Keams Canyon, Arizona, to a national-record 27 consecutive state cross country championships from 1990 to 2017. Another coach is Charles Berry, who retired in 2018 after a 57-year career as a girls and boys basketball coach in Arkansas. With most of his years at Huntsville High School, Berry won 1,377 games as a boys and girls basketball coach. The final coach in the class is Terry Michler, the winningest boys soccer coach in history from Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, Missouri. Michler has won 1,004 games and nine state championships during his 48-year career.

Completing the class are Bill Farney, who served on the administrative staff of the Texas University Interscholastic League for 32 years, including 14 years as executive director, and Robert Littlefield, one of the top speech and debate educators in North Dakota and nationally for 45 years. 

The following events during the NFHS Summer Meeting will be streamed live on the NFHS Network (www.NFHSNetwork.com).

Summer Meeting Luncheon (Wednesday, June 30, 11 a.m. EDT)
       Link: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evte2fac406bd

Hall of Fame Press Conference (Thursday, July 1, 12 p.m. EDT)
       Link: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evt996729ab4b

Hall of Fame Banquet (Thursday, July 1, 6 p.m. EDT)
       Link: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/nfhs/evtfb1ffdd8eb