By: C. Cliff McCrath
Reference is made to the following message to the NISOA “family”. After periodic conversations with Todd Abraham and Ken Andres, I have decided that it is in the best interests of our organization to conclude my tenure as Executive Director. I hasten to say that my decision is not being made due to any waning interest in what I have always embraced as the only program uniquely qualified to recruit, develop and certify referees for collegiate soccer in the United States. Indeed, my zeal and support for NISOA dates back to the early years of its formation in 1964. My formal relationship (more specifically with Dr. Ray Bernabei) began with my appointment as secretary-rules editor of the then subcommittee of the NCAA Men’s Championship Committee which, in 1989, I was privileged to help reconstitute as the current Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules Committee. Together, Ray and I designed the grant proposals for an annual rules video that the NCAA funded for over 20 years. Then, in 1992, though shocked at the choice, Ray informed me that I was to be inducted into the NISOA Hall of Fame. I was honored and humbled at such recognition so I suppose it should not have come as a surprise when, in August of 2008, he asked me to assume significant aspects of his executive role. Sadly, within weeks, he was ‘gone’ and I found myself attending his funeral with a legion of other stunned NISOA members. It was at that event that discussions were held with Ken Andres, and others, about assuming a greater role. As eager as I was to further his legacy, it was my recommendation that an “interim” arrangement be created inasmuch as I believed then – as I do now – that “…you don’t succeed an icon; you succeed the one that succeeds the icon!”
I began such an assignment September 1, 2009 and now look back over these five years with mixed emotions. The positives are summed up in accomplishments that include presentations to the NCAA and NAIA that resulted in a more consolidated approach to postseason playoff assignments and, perhaps, a precursor to the emergence of Arbiter. For certain, we were able to influence and help position our people for the first NAC (Don Wilbur) and Ken Andres, my successor as NCAA SRE. It, also, was gratifying to help design and promote George Noujaim’s new, annual, NR Academy Program and, with great guidance from Todd, the RACI formula as NISOA’s formula for administrative protocol.
What hasn’t succeeded – yet – (my deepest conviction) is a NISOA that must dedicate its energies to developing a new NISOA, whereby the historical and fraternal elements of its makeup, be separated from what I believe has to be a vibrant, and very aggressive business model; one capable of performing successfully in a rapidly competitive market place. To this end, I am persuaded that the current management formula does not need an Executive Director. At the same time, I am happy to announce that I will continue in a volunteer, consulting relationship, managing the “Ask-Rules-for-Life” web service which John Puglisi has so ably constructed. I, also, have informed the officers that I will remain available to help in any way I may be needed.
Lastly, I will hold always before me, the very special relationships – the countless friends – you are the stuff, of which, any personal or business experience is made. (I can name names but we all know what happens when some are left out!)
By: Todd Abraham, NISOA President
I want to thank Cliff for his dedication, professionalism, service to and support of NISOA both over his tenure as Executive Director and for the past 50+ years as he worked closely with our organization since its inception. Cliff’s relationships and connections have helped maintain NISOA’s relevance in the collegiate soccer community. His leadership and vision have helped shape NISOA as we transitioned to a more professional and business-like association. While our work is not complete, the roadmap is certainly well-defined and well into the execution phase. We will miss Cliff’s stewardship and enthusiasm as our Executive Director, but know he will always be a tireless supporter of our cause!