PDT Sports Writer
Editor’s Note: This is the final installment in a series of articles relating to an interview earlier this week with Tim Stried, OHSAA Director of Information Services. A link to the full interview may be found on the online version of this story on Daily Times website.
Every two years, the OHSAA has a new Board of Directors as all six districts rotate a new member into its respective seat.
This upcoming school year starts the new rotation and the Southeast District will be represented by Wheelersburg Superintendent Mark Knapp. He replaces Clay Superintendent Tony Mantell after his two years of service.
“I’m very honored to be serving the OHSAA and I’ll (be looking) forward to that,” Knapp said. “The things that I hope to be able to accomplish is to help the organization to continue to grow, to sponsor quality tournaments for student-athletes, to help them grow in leadership skills and some of the other things the OHSAA is connected with.”
Currently the Southeast Ohio District Athletic Board consists of Knapp, Mantell, New Boston Superintendent Mike Skaggs, Manchester Principal Jeff Stricklett, Logan Superintendent Steve Stirn, Chillicothe Southeastern Principal Leonard Steyer, Warren Principal Dan Leffingwell, Western Athletic Director Jenny Penn and Ironton Athletic Director Mark LaFon. Tim Stried, OHSAA Director of Information Services, is excited to see what Knapp brings to the statewide meetings.
“It’s really neat just to have each of the six districts represented,” Stried said. “They’ve got a lot of work to do, every year there’s a lot of work to do on the state board. They have so many issues that come onto their agenda to talk about.”
Knapp, who believed he was coming up on his sixth year with the SEODAB, said he does not have any agenda at this time as to what he wants to accomplish in his two years other than to help continue the “Respect the Game” campaign. Of the items he has witnessed the OHSAA improve upon included its partnership with corporate sponsorships to promote leadership and sportsmanship with all of the member schools throughout the state, improved tournament venues, coaching education and better support of the officials.
“We are not AAU, we are not Junior Olympics, we are not some of those organizations that are out there for the students to compete in,” Knapp said. “We have a little different philosophy in the way we are organized.
“Our schools are all members of our organization and I think our goals are a little bit different as an organization. Not that they’re bad organizations, I’m just saying we have a little different emphasis.”
For Mantell, he is proud of the accomplishments that took place within the OHSAA during his two years of service. An item he highlighted was the move for a seventh division in football starting next fall.
“There was such a discrepancy in the numbers with the lower schools and the higher schools,” Mantell said. “You had hundreds more boys and some of those schools were concerned with the imbalance there and this has been going on and going on.
“I feel that we ultimately came up with a plan to solve that issue. I think most people like it, there are a few that don’t.”
He does believe Knapp will carry on the tradition for the Southeast District for the next two school years.
“I’ve known Mark for quite a few years and I consider him a friend,” Mantell said. “…He’s certainly a very intelligent guy, very sports-minded. We’ve worked together on the Southeast District Board and I think Mark’s a problem solver in my experience with him.”
Cody Leist can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org.