The NISOA Executive Board unanimously approved the decision by President Joe Miller to appoint C. Cliff McCrath as the new Executive Director of NISOA effective September 1, 2009. This decision was made at the annual convention. Cliff has an outstanding history as a coach at Seattle Pacific University and member of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA). In addition Cliff currently serves as the soccer rules editor for the NCAA and is responsible to both coaches and officials on rules interpretations and protests. Cliff has been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame by both NISOA and the NSCAA.
Message to all NISOA Referees, Spouses, and Significant Others, Administrators, Assignors, Assessors, NRP and NRP Emeriti, Past, Present and Future:
Greetings from the Emerald City which, during these times of economic uncertainty, has been called “…an island of prosperity in a sea of despair!” The truth is, Seattle is thriving, and erecting new buildings – (the skyline is dotted with cranes and scaffolding) – and the great state of Washington is sprinkled liberally with multimillionaire farmers. But I digress.
The real reason for this little soliloquy is to share with you my initial thoughts about the significance of this first day of September, 2009. It is the day Ken Andres, acting Executive Director, announced this past July, at the annual convention in San Francisco, C. Cliff McCrath’s tenure as the second ever Executive Director of NISOA would become effective. That day is here, and it brings with it a wave of emotions with many different facets. At once there is an overwhelming sense of responsibility and occasional fits of terror that sweep through my mind. It’s a little like a specter at my elbow waiting to pounce on every thought about the impossibility of walking in the oversized footprints left by Dr. Ray Bernabei.
I hasten to say that in order to be true to the vision that Ray so clearly articulated, there will have to be renewed commitment to the ideals that NISOA so clearly represents and has embraced with integrity and great vigor through the years. And the fundamental truth about why NISOA is so unique is the dedication and tireless service rendered by each member and those who have served in leadership positions. Further, it is imperative that each dues-paying member receiving this memo be reminded that those carrying out such functions are not only integral to what happens in the days ahead but are the true foot soldiers upon which our destiny rests. To that extent, I begin by acknowledging, with deepest gratitude, the work performed by all, but especially the executive team.
Kudos of the highest kind go to Ken Andres, who continues to serve as NISOA liaison to the NCAA Rules Committee and so ably lifted the baton in serving this past year as Interim Executive Director. John Van de Vaarst, Director of Operations, is the cornerstone of NISOA and the very lifeblood of everything that happens on a daily basis. He, simply, is the gas pellet of NISOA’s universe and, in my mind, the most knowledgeable person with reference to the vast business requisites of daily functions. Mario Donnangelo, Associate Director is the quietest yet most effective member of this team that just flat out stabilizes everything from the most finite detail to those issues relating to the wellbeing of the organization. He, quite frankly, is the most self-effacing, calm, joyful and easy-going person I know. Then there is President Joe Miller, articulate, principled, driven to keep NISOA strong and vibrant. And what of the pillars, past and present…the committee ‘generals’, lieutenants, captains and the host of area coordinator, assignors, assessors…the Larry Dorseys, George Noujaims, Manual Ortizs, Grier Coopers, Bob Sumpters, Dan Keohanes; the Fortins, Butlers, Cinquantos, Koldaros, Fischers, Tom Richardson, Ken Mather, Jim Triplett, Douglas Epps, Ed Michaud, Todd Abraham, Frank Jewell, Mac Brazelton, Mike Allen, Gary Huber, George Westcott, Alex Ivanenko, Eddie Braun…Did I leave anybody out? Of course. There has never been a case of someone trying to earmark – and praise – everyone that makes things tick without leaving SOMEBODY out!!! But to list everyone is tedious at best and over-solicitous at worst! Suffice it to say I truly view every last NISOA member, male and female, as the heart and soul of who we are and what we are yet to achieve.
On a practical level, one of the first steps I have chosen to undertake is a mini-summit, of sorts, gathering together the executive team to refine and shape the initiatives NISOA needs to pursue in the immediate and the distant future. With these initiatives come clear protocols that will determine who does what and how the job gets done. For example, the last thing the new Executive Director needs to do – or meddle with – is how the organization functions on a day-to-day basis. As aforementioned, those jobs are being managed very effectively by Ken, who has served and has pledged to continue to serve as NISOA legal counsel, John, Mario, Joe and the army of coordinators most ably qualified to do them. On the other hand, the Executive Director DOES need to dive – headfirst – into the massively challenging areas of fundraising and policy-shaping with our constituents vis-à-vis the NCAA and major conferences throughout the country. Plans are already underway to meet with these people and with sponsors that can – and should – benefit from alliance with NISOA. These, and other projects, will be updated and reported to you in periodic reports as time goes on.
For now, let me thank you, each one, for your support and your friendship as we dare to scale higher mountains and engage challenges yet to be defined. It’s a huge and scary job and the journey ahead looks daunting but I am ready to charge. I am reminded of what my college coach, Bob Baptista, once said when he left coaching to assume the presidency of a prestigious university:
“OF WHAT SIGNIFICANCE IS THE VICTORY IF THE CHALLENGE IS TOO SMALL?”
It was good enough for the man that told me I was going to coach; it’s good enough for me!