INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 1, 2015) — Wanda Gilliland, assistant director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, is among 12 leaders in high school activity programs across the country selected to receive National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Citations.
She received the award at a special luncheon held at the 2015 the 96th annual NFHS Summer Meeting in New Orleans Wednesday. An award designed to honor individuals who have made contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, the officiating avocation and fine arts/performing arts programs, the NFHS Citation is one of the most highly regarded achievements in high school athletics and performing arts.
“I know of no one who is more deserving than Wanda Gilliland,” AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. “She is dedicated, loyal and a tireless servant who loves the AHSAA and its mission. We are very proud of her and are elated she is being recognized by the NFHS for her many contributions.”
Ms. Gilliland has been an assistant director with the AHSAA since 1996. A graduate of Marion County High School and Athens State College, she served as a teacher and coach/athletic director at Hamilton High School from 1979-1996 where her girls’ basketball teams compiled a 301-96 record, won a state championship in 1990, finished runner-up the next year and won the Marion County tournament seven times.
She has played a key role in the development of state championship programs in volleyball, softball, basketball and cross country. She has helped govern eligibility requirements through involvement with school audits, investigations and foreign exchange student regulations.
Gilliland has received several coach-of-the-year honors and has served on the NFHS basketball, softball and spirit rules committees. She currently chairs the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. She was inducted into AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Marion County Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Gilliland, the Section 3 recipient, becomes the sixth Alabama recipient of the prestigious NFHS Citation Award since its inception in 1987. Past recipients include Ken Blankenship (Coaches Citation) in 2000, Greg Brewer (Section 3) in 2006, Houston Young (Officials Citation), 2010, Alan Mitchell (Section 3) in 2012, and Jeff Hilyer (Officials Citation) in 2014.
Eight Citation honorees, one from each of the NFHS member-school districts, are recognized annually as well as four other Citation recipients representing NFHS professional organizations for officials, coaches, music leaders and speech/debate/theatre directors.
The other state association recipients for 2015 were Pat Corbin, Section 1, retired executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association; Butch Powell, Section 2, assistant executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission; Scott Johnson, Section 4, assistant executive director of the Illinois High School Association; Cheryl Gleason, Section 5, assistant executive director of the Kansas State High School Activities Association; Amy Cassell, Section 6, assistant director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association; Dwight Toyama, Section 7, former executive director of the Hawaii High School Athletic Association and the Oahu Interscholastic Association; and John Billetz, Section 8, retired executive director of the Idaho High School Activities Association.
Other Citation recipients at Wednesday’s awards luncheon were James Coon, Officials Citation recipient, volleyball official, Pittsboro, Indiana; Milt Bassett, Coach Citation recipient, executive director, Oklahoma Coaches Association, Edmond, Oklahoma; Jean Ney, Music Citation recipient, retired coordinator of fine arts, Kansas City, Kansas, Public Schools, Bonner Springs, Kansas; and Darrel Harbaugh, Speech/Debate/Theatre Citation recipient, retired director of debate and forensics, Field Kindley Memorial High School, Coffeyville, Kansas.
Missouri State High School Activities Association legal counsel Mallory Mayse was also presented the NFHS Award of Merit for his contributions over the last 40 years to the NFHS and MSHSAA concerning legal issues. The award, while not presented annually, has recognized 42 individuals since 1966 including former President Gerald Ford (1983) and former AHSAA Executive Director Herman L. “Bubba” Scott (1992).
The NFHS American Tradition Award was also presented to Varsity Spirit, a company dedicated to spirit and cheer participation. Varsity Spirit became just the eighth recipient of the award since 1985.