‘New Guy’ Won’t Seek Change Just for Change’s Sake

Submitted by webmaster on Tue, 09/02/2014 - 9:57pm

The winds of change have come to the Georgia High School Association. Subtle changes in long-term tenure began with the retirement of Joyce Kay. Mrs. Kay had been a primary fixture in the GHSA for more than 35 years.

Joyce’s retirement was followed, shortly, by the retirement of Associate Director Dennis Payne, an 11-year administrator in football and baseball.

Ultimately, the retirement of Dr. Ralph Swearngin, Executive Director, swept in the changes you will see for this and the coming years. Dr. Swearngin served as the Commissioner of Officials for nine years and as the Executive Director for the next 13 years.

Other changes within the organization have come with the beginnings of this school year:

  • Jay Russell, former Athletic Director at LaGrange High School has been named Assistant Executive Director. He will administer cross country, track and golf.

  • Ernie Yarbrough has been named as Coordinator of Officiating. Additionally, he will administer softball, basketball and baseball; a change from prior years.

  • Tommy Whittle, Associate Director, will administer soccer now along with his duties in football and literary events.

  • Denis Tallini, a third year Associate Director, has been charged with the reorganization and revitalization of our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.

  • In addition, there are a total of 20 new members on the 2014-15 State Executive Committee out of the 58 representatives, bringing some new and fresh ideas to the GHSA’s rule-making board.

Admittedly, these are not sweeping changes, but they are reflective of our approach through the change process. The Georgia High School Association has many long standing regulations and procedures that have served our schools well in past years.

It is our intent to continue on the course as designed by our predecessors, while being keenly aware of the changes and challenges facing our member schools. Throughout the transitions experienced in the past four months, our message has been consistent: The GHSA is and has been firmly grounded and it is this “new guy’s” intentions to reflect the element of change, but not to seek changes for the sake of change.

– Gary Phillips, Executive Director