Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Executive Director Marty Hickman announced today that current Washington High School (Washington, IL) Athletic Director Craig Anderson will join the IHSA staff as an Assistant Executive Director beginning on July 1, 2010. The appointment of the 1987 Cambridge High School graduate, who will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Dave Gannaway, was confirmed on a conference call by the IHSA Board of Directors on Monday, February 22. Anderson’s exact duties will be assigned at a later date, but he is expected to retain many of Gannaway’s current responsibilities.
“Craig has proven himself to be a consummate professional time and again throughout his career and we are excited for him to join our staff,” said Hickman. “The selection process was very reaffirming for our staff, as we were overwhelmed by the number of capable candidates who believe in the IHSA’s mission and wanted to help support it. To emerge as the top candidate from such an exceptional field speaks volumes about Craig’s talents and convictions.”
Anderson has held the position of Athletic Director at Washington since 2005, where he is in charge of all facets of the athletic department, including budgeting and hiring coaches. He holds several leadership positions outside the high school, including an At-Large seat on the Illinois Athletic Directors Association’s Board of Directors. In addition, he is currently a member of the IHSA’s Athletic Administrators Advisory Committee and Legislative Commission. A member of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Anderson has been involved with the nationally renowned State Farm Basketball Tournament of Champions since 2007, serving as the Tournament Director of the five-day, 26-team tourney that annually features high schools from the across the country for the past two years.
“The reason I got into education is to help kids, so this position is a dream job for me,” said Anderson. “There is no other position where you will have the opportunity to have a positive impact on more students. Working at Washington was an incredible experience and I received an amazing amount of support from the teachers, coaches, administrators, students and community. A lot of people give me credit for some of the success the school has enjoyed, but it really falls on an exceptional group of students who worked extremely hard.”
Anderson came to Washington after four years at Olympia High School in Stanford, Illinois, where he taught mathematics and served as the head football coach for two seasons, before assuming the role of Activities Director from 2002-2005. He started his career in education as a mathematics teacher at Morton High School, where he was also hired as a football, basketball and track & field coach by Gannaway, then the Morton Activities Director.
“This is unique opportunity to follow a former mentor,” added Anderson. “It will take a great deal of hard work to live up to the standards that Dave (Gannaway) has set, but if I can get close to matching him, I will have succeeded. Having coached for him, I know how much of a quality person and administrator he is and that he will be supportive in helping me succeed.”
A 1991 graduate of Monmouth College, Anderson enjoyed a standout career for the Fighting Scots on the football field and basketball court. He went on to earn a Master’s of Arts Degree in Educational Administration from Illinois State University in 1997. Anderson participated in football, basketball, track & field, chorus, band and was the lead in a school musical during his high school career at Cambridge.
He closed by reflecting on the hiring process, “I told my wife (Allie) that I never had the chance to participate in a state final as a student, but that in my mind each step of this interview process was a round in the state series and that the interview with the IHSA staff was ultimately my state final. To have the process culminate successfully and now be in a position to have a hand in other students achieving their own state final dreams is an incredibly unique opportunity and one I hope to be a part of for the long haul.”
Anderson resides in Morton with wife Allie, and sons Cooper, Tucker and Maguire.