Dragons News · IHSAA winter newsletter

From NPHS athletic director Allen Cooper
I am proud of how our athletes and coaches represent our community.  We constantly remind our participants about the importance of how we portray Committment, Character and Class wherever we travel.
I echo what our state commissioner, Bobby Cox, suggests here for our fans and parents.   We want to be seen as exemplary when we attend athletic events. It is an important message to everyone that it is a game played by kids for kids. Let’s focus on and be proud of the efforts our players put forth and enjoy the games in the spirit of sportsmanship.
Al Cooper
NPHS Athletic Director
IHSAA winter newsletter

A Postscript to “Cool It”

A few weeks ago, Dr. Karissa Niehoff of the National Federation of State High School Associations partnered with the Executive Directors/Commissioners of all 51 state associations to deliver an important message regarding sportsmanship, contest officials and adult behavior at high school athletic contests. This communication was distributed nationwide and it has resonated greatly with the public. The IHSAA has received countless positive responses to the op-ed from all corners of our state. Within those encouragements, several helpful suggestions were also forwarded. As I reflect on the conversation, I want to share some of the more insightful comments:

  • When did boorish behavior replace respectful, good-natured, competitive conduct?
  • ALL adult stakeholders need to adhere to these directives. This includes coaches, administrators and officials.
  • These are “games for kids!” Where did we lose our way?
  • Parents need to stop and enjoy these games before their kids graduate and it’s all over.

My sense is that the clear majority of Hoosiers understand the basic premise of education-based athletics, yet some are occasionally overwhelmed with hometown zeal and passion. That energy and support is always welcomed when channeled in the proper manner. I have reprinted the op-ed below as reference to our challenge.

I look forward to seeing you at our tournament series events this winter. #FaceOfSportsmanship


Bobby Cox
Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc.

Dear Mom and Dad: Cool It

By Karissa Niehoff, Executive Director of the National Federation of State High School Associations and Bobby Cox, Commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

If you are the mother or father of a high school athlete here in Indiana, this message is primarily for you.

When you attend an athletic event that involves your son or daughter, cheer to your heart’s content, enjoy the camaraderie that high school sports offer and have fun. But when it comes to verbally criticizing game officials or coaches, cool it.

Make no mistake about it. Your passion is admired, and your support of the hometown team is needed. But so is your self-control. Yelling, screaming and berating the officials humiliates your child, annoys those sitting around you, embarrasses your child’s school and is the primary reason Indiana has an alarming shortage of high school officials.

It’s true. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Sports Officials, more than 75 percent of all high school officials say “adult behavior” is the primary reason they quit. And 80 percent of all young officials hang up their stripes after just two years of whistle blowing. Why? They don’t need your abuse.

Plus, there’s a ripple effect. There are more officials over 60 than under 30 in many areas. And as older, experienced officials retire, there aren’t enough younger ones to replace them. If there are no officials, there are no games. The shortage of licensed high school officials is severe enough in some areas that athletic events are being postponed or cancelled—especially at the freshman and junior varsity levels.

Research confirms that participation in high school sports and activities instills a sense of pride in school and community, teaches lifelong lessons like the value of teamwork and self-discipline and facilitates the physical and emotional development of those who participate. So, if the games go away because there aren’t enough men and women to officiate them, the loss will be infinitely greater than just an “L” on the scoreboard. It will be putting a dent in your community’s future.

If you would like to be a part of the solution to the shortage of high school officials, you can sign up to become a licensed official at HighSchoolOfficials.com. Otherwise, adult role models at high school athletic events here in Indiana are always welcome.


With a rich 108-year-old history brimming with packed gymnasiums, intense rivalries and five generations worth of fantastic finishes to build on, the IHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament presented by the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever moves to center stage during the next few weeks.

While all 22 of the IHSAA’s sports occupy an important place in the hearts of Hoosiers, few would argue that this is the granddaddy of them all. It’s not only the oldest of all the tournaments, it’s also the one that has done the most to shape the culture of our basketball-crazy state.

A special thank you to all the host schools of this year’s tournament—the principals, the athletic administrators and their assistants, the coaches and educators, the parents, students and volunteers who work in the concession stands, the timers, scorekeepers, public address announcers and custodians, all of whom work together to help make fans feel entertained, informed and right at home.

And while we’re passing out the accolades, let’s be sure to add our licensed IHSAA basketball officials to the list. The income they earn from working tournament games pales in comparison to the contribution they make.

From the tournament pairings announcement on February 17 to the state championship games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 23, Hoosiers are about to enjoy the most time-honored tradition Indiana has to offer. Buckle up, fans. It’s going to be a magnificent ride!


Integrity: Honest, strong moral principles.

Character: The ethical traits that individualize a person.

Respect: Deep admiration for someone elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements; regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others.

IHSAA principals and athletic administrators recognize these three profound words as the same ones engraved on the sportsmanship pins they’ve been awarding to deserving parents, student-athletes, fans, officials and others who have proven themselves worthy of recognition.

Hundreds of these unique pins have been awarded since the beginning of the current school year, and many of the presentations have been posted on social media. It’s all part of a movement designed to not only encourage and recognize exemplary acts of good sportsmanship, but also to counter the negative publicity that high school sports often receive with a steady stream of positivity.

If you are a high school principal or athletic administrator, keep looking for extraordinary examples of good sportsmanship and—please—keep posting photos of your pin presentations using #FaceOfSportsmanship.


Do you know someone who might be a good high school official? A person who loves the sport they played in high school or college and is looking for ways to give back to it? A man or woman who has lots of community pride and wants to contribute?

Maybe that person lives next door or attends your church or works in an office just down the hall. Like all high school state associations, the IHSAA is always on the lookout for new officials. As veteran whistleblowers retire, new ones are needed to replace them. And in some areas, new officials are desperately needed.

For more information, answers to questions and a little inspiration, go toHighSchoolOfficials.com.

Mental Attitude Award Recipients
Fall 2018
Girls Golf
Katelyn Skinner, Evansville North

Boys Tennis
Aidan Harris, Park Tudor

Boys Soccer
A: Noah Martin, Covenant Christian (Indianapolis)
2A: Brandon Fuentes, Hammond Bishop Noll
3A: Joshua Longmire, Zionsville

Girls Soccer
 A: Lauren Putz, Wheeler
2A: Isabel Ortiz, South Bend St. Joseph
3A: Jessica Tanzler, Homestead

Boys Cross Country
Quinn Gallagher, Guerin Catholic

Girls Cross Country
Emma Wilson, Greencastle

 A: Haley Gleitz, Pioneer
2A: Lauren Cox, North Judson-San Pierre
3A: Madeline Sinders, Northview
4A: Chloe Rickenbach, Avon

A: Dustin Sparks, Pioneer
2A: Peyton Young, Western Boone
3A: Kyle Hazell, West Lafayette
4A: Tavehon (TJ) McGarry, Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger
5A: Luke Ely, New Palestine
6A: Beau Robbins, Carmel

2018 State Champions – Fall

Girls Golf
Team: Evansville North
Individual: Jocelyn Bruch, Westfield

Boys Tennis
Team: Carmel
Singles: Presley Thienenman, Carmel
Doubles: Eli Herran, Isaac Steiner, Leo

Unified Flag Football
Team: Bedford North Lawrence

Girls Cross Country
Team: Carroll (Fort Wayne)
Individual: Emma Wilson, Greencastle

Boys Cross Country
Team: Carmel
Individual: Cole Hocker, Indianapolis Cathedral

Girls Soccer
 A: Evansville Mater Dei
2A: Indianapolis Cathedral
3A: Carmel

Boys Soccer
 A: Fort Wayne Canterbury
2A: Hammond Bishop Noll
3A: Chesterton

 A: Barr-Reeve
2A: North Judson-San Pierre
3A: New Castle
4A: Yorktown

 A: Pioneer
2A: Western Boone
3A: West Lafayette
4A: Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger
5A: New Palestine
6A: Warren Central

February 8-9: Girls Swimming & Diving State Finals

February 15-16: Wrestling State Finals

February 22-23: Boys Swimming & Diving State Finals

February 23: Girls Basketball State Finals

March 9: Gymnastics State Finals

March 23: Boys Basketball State Finals