1923-2020 Ninety-Seven Years of the NYSPHSAA

Athletics were always a natural part of the high school program. As the academies and the early high schools were established in New York State, participation grew gradually. Originally, interscholastic sports were operated by outsiders, but problems developed. Local community pride engendered excesses, colleges and commercial agencies became involved, and practices inconsistent with the objectives of education were common. School authorities at fi rst opposed, then tolerated, and fi nally assumed full control of the interschool competition to correct injustices, inequities and abuses. As someone has said, "We have come a long way."

In 1921, Frank R. Wassung, Superintendent of Schools, Norwich, met with Daniel Chase, Supervisor of Physical Education in the State Education Department, to plan for a statewide organization. Schoolmen agreed to form the New York State Public High School Association of Basketball Leagues to bring consistency to eligibility rules and to conduct state tournaments. Mr. Chase, who became the fi rst president, had the encouragement of Dr. Frank P. Graves, Commissioner of Education.

To provide for additional sports, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association was established in 1923. The NYSPHSAA became a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations in 1926. After a constitution was adopted, President Chase appointed a Central Committee of 14 members, one from each section, which elected John F. Hummer, Principal, Binghamton, as chairman. The provision that each section elect a superintendent, a principal and an athletic director as representatives on the Central Committee was adopted in 1928. The Central Committee was expanded in 1975 to include a representative of girls’ athletics from each section. With the addition of these representatives of girls’ programs to the Executive Committee in 1976, the NYSPHSAA leads the nation with its decision making bodies structured for equitable input.

In 1937, at the request of this association and the Associated Academic Principals, nearly all of the NYSPHSAA Eligibility Rules were adopted by the Board of Regents and became a part of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The NYSPHSAA became incorporated in 1975. In 1978 each of the 11 sections were incorporated.

The Central Committee approved the establishment of the Athletic Protection Plan in 1932 as a service of the NYSPHSAA. Athletic Protection Plan gains recognition and was incorporated (1941) under State Insurance Law. Lawrence Grimes served as Director for 29 years (1949-78). In 1975 the corporate title was changed to Pupil Benefits Plan, Inc.

Through the years the presidents of the NYSPHSAA have shown effective leadership. The NYSPHSAA was strengthened under the guidance of honorary presidents Dr. Frederick Rand Rogers, Dr. Hiram A. Jones, Dr. Ellis Champlin and Dr. George H. Grover, all of the NYS Education Department.

The NYSPHSAA grew under the administration of many capable and dedicated people. Elmer K. Smith, Rochester (1923-25) and Everett T. Grout, Schenectady (1925-29) served as Secretary and Emory A. Bauer was Treasurer (1923-29). In addition to being Secretary/Treasurer (1929-1942) Frederick R. Wegner initiated and conducted the early operation of the Athletic Protection Plan. John K. Archer served as Secretary/Treasurer from 1942-75. An office was established in Albany in 1962, with J. Kenneth Hafner serving as Field Representative and becoming Director of Field Services in 1970. Alton B. Doyle was appointed the first full time Executive Secretary in 1975, serving until 1990. Administrative staff have included William Vesp (1977-80), Floyd Jones (1981-97) and Walter Eaton (1990-2007) as Assistant Directors and Marcus Martone (1975-92) and Gordon Durnford (1992-96) as Treasurers. Dr. Sandra Scott (1975-2000) was elected Executive Director in 1990 and became the first woman executive director of a state high school athletic association in the nation. In 2000, Nina VanErk was appointed as the Executive Director. The NYSPHSAA Legal Counsel have consisted of Ron Shaw (1972-2005) and Kevin Seaman during 2005.

Today the administrative staff consists of Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas (2012), Assistant Directors Todd Nelson (2008), Joseph Altieri (2001), Kristen Jadin (2015), Director of Sales and Marketing Chris Joyce (2015), Director of Communications Chris Watson (2016), Director of Finance Lisa Hand, Administrative Assistant Sandy Schanck, Distribution Director Jill Gregorious and Legal Counsel Renee James (2006). In February 2006 the NYSPHSAA moved its headquarters to 8 Airport Park Blvd., Latham, NY.

Hundreds of school representatives have contributed to the progress of our Association through their interest, service and leadership.

Past Presidents

* Denotes Deceased  


* Daniel Chase 1923-25
* John F. Hummer 1925-26
* Seward S. Travis 1926-27
* Carl H. Burkhardt 1928-29
* Heth G. Coons 1929-31
* Herbert L. Sackett 1931-32
* Frank R. Wassung 1932-33
* Elmer K. Smith 1933-35
* Charles E. Riley 1935-37
* Frank C. Densberger 1937-39
* Foster S. Brown 1939-41
* W.Howard Vanderhoef 1941-43
* Kurt Beyer 1943-45
* Robert C. McDonald 1945-47
* Carl A. Hansen 1947-49
* David E. Panebaker 1949-51
* Ray Townsend 1951-53
* Philip J. Hammes 1953-55
* Kenneth E. Smith 1955-57
* Andrew J. Smith 1957-59
* J. Kenneth Hafner 1959-61
* W. Kenneth Doyle 1961-63
* Glenn E. Manning 1963-65
* Raymond Benjamin 1965-67
* Lewis C. Obourn 1967-69
* John W. Kickham 1969-71
   Marcus J. Martone 1971-73
* Richard P. McLean 1973-76
   Peter N. Betrus 1976-78
* Bernard LaMay 1978-80
* Anthony C. Sabella 1980-82
* John D. O'Donnell 1982-84
   Michaela Kasner 1984-86
* Robert W. Zegler 1986-88
   Richard J. McGuire 1988-90
* Thad J. Mularz 1990-92
   Karen P. Lopez 1992-94
   James J. Tolle 1994-96
   Robert Munn 1996-98
   Dean Veenhoff 1998-01
   Patrick J. Calnon 2001-04
   Kathryn Faber 2004-06
*Ronald Black 2006-08
   Patrick Pizzarelli 2008-10
   Mark Ward 2010-12
   Eileen Troy 2012-14
   Steve Broadwell 2014-16
   Jim Osborne


   Paul Harrica 2018-20
   Julie Bergman Current


Honorary Past Presidents

*Larry Grimes 
*Alton Doyle 
*Floyd Jones 
Sandra Scott