The AHSAA is saddened to learn of the death of former Elkmont High School student Leah Seibert. The 2017 Bryant-Jordan Ken and Betty Joy Blankenship State Achievement Award recipient, passed away Tuesday night, Aug. 29, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
“Receiving the Bryant-Jordan Award was very special to Leah and her family, and the life she lived was a shining example of the character that Elkmont High School and the AHSAA want in all of our students,” said Elkmont assistant principal Kenny Jordan.
AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said, “Leah was a very special student-athlete who personified what courage is all about and inspired all who knew her. We are very saddened by the news of her death and offer our prayers and condolences to her family and her extended family of teachers and students at Elkmont High School.”
Miss Seibert, who graduated last May, was a cheerleader and softball player at Elkmont High School in Limestone County. She had a 4.14 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Leah was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, which required her to face many obstacles during her high school years. Even when she couldn’t participate, she was there cheering her teammates on and giving them her full support. Her positive attitude affected all who knew her.
Funeral arrangements are not available at this time.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 29, 2017) —Mark Koski, director of sports, events and development at the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for the past 10 years, has been selected chief executive officer of the NFHS Network. Koski’s appointment by the NFHS Network Board of Directors is effective September 1.
The NFHS Network, a joint venture between the NFHS, its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports, provides live and on-demand video of high school sports events through a digital network available at www.NFHSNetwork.com and on Apple TV. The NFHS Network, now in its fifth year of operation, covered more than 25,000 events last year involving 27 sports and activities.
Koski will continue to serve on the NFHS administrative staff as director of marketing and will divide his time between the NFHS Network headquarters in Atlanta and the NFHS office in Indianapolis.
“The NFHS Network Board of Directors sees in Mark Koski a person who has a powerful passion for the mission and potential of the NFHS Network,” said Jack Roberts, president of the NFHS Network Board of Directors and executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. “He was involved with the Network when it was only an idea, has been instrumental in expanding its reach and has great ideas for furthering its success.
“Most important to the Board is that Mark has an excellent understanding of the needs of state high school associations, having served in the New Mexico association office and then serving all state associations during his decade on the NFHS staff; and he has gained the trust and respect of my counterparts across the country,” Roberts continued. “The hiring of Mark Koski and the location of the Network CEO in Indianapolis signal the next important phase in the development of the NFHS Network, which provides the NFHS its most significant tool ever for promoting the values of school-sponsored sports to students, schools and society.”
Since joining the NFHS staff in 2007, Koski has directed all major NFHS events and meetings. He also has been editor of the NFHS Soccer Rules Book and NFHS Field Hockey Rules Book and served on the NFHS Rules Review Committee.
Koski has been responsible for a tremendous growth in corporate partnerships for the NFHS the past five years as director of development. Currently, the NFHS has more than 20 corporate partners with total corporate revenue of $2.2 million annually. He also has led the national #MyReasonWhy public relations campaign the past two years and has been staff liaison with the NFHS Network since its formation in 2013.
“We are excited about the opportunities that Mark’s appointment brings both to the NFHS and the NFHS Network,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “We see the integration of NFHS marketing opportunities with the NFHS Network as a win-win for both organizations.”
Prior to joining the NFHS staff in 2007, Koski was assistant director of the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) for four years, where he served as director of corporate development. He helped the NMAA increase its annual corporate sponsorship revenue from $27,000 to $700,000. He also was instrumental in starting the NMAA Foundation, which raised more than $100,000 in its first year of existence.
Koski graduated from Highland High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1995. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University of New Mexico in 2000, where he was a decathlete and 400-meter sprinter for the Lobo track and field team for four years, and his master’s degree in sport administration from UNM in 2003. As a member of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), Koski earned his Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) status in 2005 and his Certified Master Athletic Administrator (CMAA) in 2007. He is currently in the final phase of receiving his doctorate in educational administration.
Prior to joining the NMAA, Koski was a physical education and special education teacher at Manzano High School in Albuquerque for three years. He served as head track and field coach at Manzano for one year, where he helped increase participation from 30 to 130 student-athletes. Koski also served as assistant football coach for three years and assistant track coach for two years.
During his time with the NMAA, Koski served on the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee and the NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee. At the state level, Koski was president-elect of the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors and a member of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Games and the New Mexico Track and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to take the NFHS Network to new heights as its chief executive officer,” Koski said. “After serving 10 years at the NFHS national office, I have learned how important and influential our state associations are to the success of the NFHS and our NFHS Network. Building and fostering relationships with the state associations has always been a priority of mine, and I will take that with me to the NFHS Network. Great things lie ahead for the NFHS, its member associations and our Network – I am honored to be a part of it.”
Great Week Zero story to start our 2017-18 High School sports season off!
The AHSAA was saddened to learn of the death of Boaz High School Coach Eric Whaley. Whaley, who resigned as head football coach last winter, died Sunday after battling cancer. Whaley, 39, is survived by his wife Alison, children Addie Grace and Tyler.
“He fought a courageous battle that has inspired us all,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “I experienced first-hand the impact Coach Whaley has made to those around him through his leadership as a coach and teacher. He always strived to use the opportunity to teach his players the important life lessons that can be learned from playing a high school sport as well as living his life based on his strong faith and Christian principles.
“He has meant so much to the students, teachers and children of Boaz because of the example of his daily walk. On behalf of the AHSAA, I offer our most sincere condolences to his family and the entire Boaz community."
A celebration of life service will be held, Tuesday, August 15 at 7 p.m. at Boaz High School’s gymnasium. The family will receive friends from 4 until 7 prior to the service. The Funeral service will be Wednesday at 2 p.m., at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Boaz with visitation from noon until 2. Burial will follow at Hillcrest Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Eric Whaley Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Snead State Community College.