Former Illinois High School Association Executive Director Lavere L. (Liz) Astroth died Sunday, January 23, 2011, in Kansas City, at the age of 89.
Astroth served the IHSA as an administrator for 24 years, the final stop on a 45-year year career in education. Astroth joined the IHSA as an Assistant Executive Director in 1967 and ascended to the position of Executive Director in 1978, a role he remained in until his retirement in 1991.
During his time at the IHSA, Astroth served as the administrator for the sports of boys baseball, boys basketball, football, boys soccer, boys track & field, wrestling and was also in charge of the Officials Department.
Under Astroth’s leadership, the IHSA saw a great deal of positive expansion, including the addition of state finals in 12 girls sports, the establishment of the football playoffs and state finals, the addition of a State Series in Scholastic Bowl, the movement to multiple classes in several sports and the organization of the IHSA’s first TV network.
“We were very sorry to hear of Liz’s passing,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Liz was clearly an exceptional leader and helped make the IHSA one of the premier state associations in the country. In many ways, he was a visionary whose impact is still felt as we continue to utilize many of programs, policies and procedures that were established during his time at the IHSA.”
Astroth was born in Alton and graduated from East Alton-Wood River High School. He went on to graduate from the University of Illinois, where he lettered three times in both baseball and football. The two-time College All Star Football Game participant went on to serve his country in World War II after college.
Astroth started his teaching and coaching career at Hoopeston High School in 1946, serving as the head coach in the sports of football, basketball, baseball and track & field. He then moved on to Urbana High School in 1951, where he served as the head basketball coach and assistant football coach. His final stop before joining the IHSA came in the Glenbard School District, as he joined the staff at Glenbard West High School in 1953 as a teacher and coach and then went on to become the first athletic director at Glenbard East High School when the school opened in 1958.
Astroth, who was also an IHSA official in four sports prior to joining the staff, was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1983 and was the recipient of the Ray Elliot Award for service to Illinois high school athletics in 1991.
A memorial service will be held February 20, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. at South-Broadland Presbyterian Church in Kansas City.