Anderson named executive director of IHSA

Lonnie Schwindenhammer GateHouse Media Illinois
Craig Anderson

The Illinois High School Association on June 9 morning named Craig Anderson as its next executive director.

Anderson’s new position with the IHSA will become official on Jan. 18, 2016, when current director Marty Hickman retires.

“I had immediate interest when the position was posted, and the feedback I received encouraged me to apply,” Anderson said. “I’m excited about the opportunity and grateful the board saw value in what I can offer the association as executive director.”

Anderson, who turned 46 June 7, joined the IHSA as an administrator in 2010, after five years as athletics director at Washington. Herb Knoblauch succeeded Anderson as the Washington AD.

“A good move by the IHSA,” Knoblauch said. “Craig left some big shoes for me to fill at Washington and that’s a good thing. He has a vision, not just where things are now but where they’ll be a year or two down the road.”

Anderson graduated from Cambridge High and played multiple sports at Monmouth College. He went to Washington after four years at Olympia, including three as athletics director and two seasons as football head coach. Anderson before that spent 10 years as a teacher and coach at Morton, where he still resides with his wife, Allie, and their three children.

“He’s a tremendous asset to the IHSA and the member schools,” Peoria High athletics director Brien Dunphy said. “As an AD, when you need someone at the IHSA it’s usually because of a question or concern, and Craig has been cooperative and responsive in those situations.”

Anderson currently serves as the IHSA’s administrator for football, wrestling and baseball, and is coordinator for game officials in all sports.

Don King of Peoria assigns officials for 

football, basketball and baseball for schools in Peoria, the Mid-Illini Conference and elsewhere in central Illinois. He remains a basketball official and baseball umpire and is a retired football official.

“Craig is personable and a no-nonsense guy in a good way,” King said. “He knows how to get things done without upsetting the apple cart.”

Anderson said he expects to remain in his current administrative capacities through the 2015-16 school year. The IHSA also is expected to hire a new administrator.

“I’ll have my same responsibilities next year, but there will be some transition in which I’ll work closely with (Hickman) in terms of moving into the new position,” Anderson said.

Hickman, last winter, announced he would retire in 2016.

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Craig throughout his time at the IHSA,” Hickman said in a news release issued by the IHSA. “He is an innovator with a great understanding of the IHSA’s mission, rules and procedures. His passion for this organization and belief in the power that extracurricular programs have on our young people will serve him well in this role.” 

Anderson will become the IHSA’s seventh executive director in its 114-year history.

Hickman has held the position since 2002, when he succeeded Dave Fry.