The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) annually bestows an honor, regarded as the highest achievable accolade in high school sports and activities, upon 13 individuals with their respective enshrinement into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame. The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is proud to announce that Haig Nighohossian, an IHSA official from Granite City, has been selected as a member of the 2013 NFHS National High School Hall of Fame inductee class.
“Haig Nighohossian is one of the most decorated and respected officials in state history and worthy of this prestigious honor, “said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Haig exemplifies the virtues that we hope to see in all of our high school sports officials. He epitomizes integrity, fairness and sportsmanship.”
Haig is the 25th individual representing the IHSA to be honored in the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame and will be formally honored at an enshrinement ceremony banquet on Thursday, June 27 as a part of the 2013 NFHS Summer Meeting in Denver, Colorado. Inductees must be nominated by their respective state association and categorized under either Athletes, Coaches, Officials, Administrators or Fine Arts. Nighohossian is the sixth IHSA enshrinee to represent the Officials category.
“I am extremely honored and humbled by this award,” said Nighohossian. “I have always loved sports and officiating allowed me to stay active in them. I was an average athlete, but felt like I really found my niche in officiating. I have been very lucky to stay healthy and have the longevity I have enjoyed. To be named to the National High School Hall of Fame, it is just like, wow! How do you go beyond this?”
Haig is closing in on 40 years as an IHSA soccer and wrestling official and has combined to work IHSA State Finals in the two sports nearly fifty times. He has also served as the Coordinator of Officials at the boys and girls soccer state tournaments on seven other occasions.
He is a three-time recipient of the NFHS State Official of the Year Award in Boys Soccer ('90, '97, '01) and has received a Distinguished Service Award from the IHSA, as well as a Service Award from the Granite City Park District for his work with youth athletes. An Illinois Wrestling Coaches & Officials Association (IWCOA) Hall of Famer, he is a member of the National Intercollegiate Soccer Officials Association (NISOA) and Southern Illinois Soccer Officials Association (SISOA).
“Haig’s longevity as a top tier official is nothing short of incredible,” said IHSA Assistant Executive Director Beth Sauser. “Not only has he excelled as an official for nearly five decades, but he is also a very selfless individual. Despite his own personal successes, he is someone who has always taken interest in helping young officials and did everything in his power to grow the sport of soccer in any way that he could.”
Haig is a Granite City native who attended Granite City High School and then went on to attend MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. He combined to teach for 40 years at East St. Louis High School and Ridgeview High School, while also coaching at both schools, as well as at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville. Haig remains actively involved in youth soccer in the Granite City area, where he started a youth program.
The other members of the 2013 NFHS National High School Hall of Fame Class include Ed Aston (Coach from Connecticut); Chauncey Billups (Athlete from Colorado); Ronnie Carter (Administrator from Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association); Harrison Dillard (Athlete from Ohio); Richard Floyd (Music director from Texas); Kristin Folkl Kaburakis (Athlete from Missouri); Jerry Kimmel (Official from Kentucky); Chuck Koeppen (Coach from Indiana); Chuck Lenahan (Coach from New Hampshire); Mike Messere (Coach from New York); James Tate (Coach from Alabama); Joe Theismann (Athlete from New Jersey).
Nighohossian becomes the 25th NFHS National High School Hall of Fame member from Illinois, joining Dwight "Dike" Eddleman (Athlete at Centralia, 1983 inductee), Harold "Red" Grange (Athlete at Wheaton, 1984), Bart Connor (Athlete at Niles West, 1986), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Athlete at East St. Louis Lincoln, 1989), Quinn Buckner (Athlete at Thornridge, 1989), Dana Miroballi (Athlete at Wheeling, 2009), Arthur Trout (Coach at Centralia, 1982), Vergil Fletcher (Coach at Collinsville, 1983), Charles Farina (Coach at Leyden & Gordon T, 1987), Gordon Gillespie (Coach at Joliet Catholic, 1989), David Robertson (Coach at New Trier, 1991), William "Red" Schmitt (Coach at Granite C, 1993), Joe Newton (Coach at York, 2004), Norm Geske (Official from Buffalo Grove, 1982), Fred "Brick" Young (Official from Bloomington, 1983), Keith Parker (Official from Granite City, 1990), Larry Wilcoxen (Official from Walnut, 1994), Dick Deitz (Official from Mcleansboro, 1996), H.V. Porter (IHSA & NFHS Staff, 1982), Milt Sprunger (IHSA Staff, 1983), Tom Frederick (IHSA & NFHS Staff, 1994), Ola Bundy (IHSA Staff, 1996), John Griffith (Special contributor from Chicago, 1986) and Jan Heiteen (Fine Arts, Coach at Downers Grove South, 2012).