The IHSA family is saddened to announce the passing of H. David Fry, former executive director of the Association, at his home in Chatham this morning (Oct. 23, 2017).
Mr. Fry took an unusual route to his position on the IHSA staff. He grew up in Conrad, Montana, where he was a three-sport athlete while also participating in band, orchestra, and chorus. He came to Chicago to study at Moody Bible Institute and ended up with teaching jobs at North Chicago High School and Niles West High School. During this time he became deeply involved in state and national speech and debate programs. IHSA executive secretary Harry Fitzhugh took notice of his dynamic personality, and when an opening occurred on the association staff, he hired Mr. Fry, then just 26 years old and the youngest person at that time to serve as an IHSA administrator. His original responsibilities included music and speech, as well as cross country, tennis, swimming, and gymnastics.
Mr. Fry was appointed associate executive director in 1978 and then executive director in 1991 after the retirement of Lavere Astroth. During his 11 years in charge of the IHSA, he oversaw the introduction of state tournaments in boys volleyball and boys and girls water polo, the move of the boys basketball tournament from Champaign to Peoria, the creation of the IHSA TV Network, the introduction of the Add A. Tude sportsmanship mascot, and the vigorous promotion of the IHSA’s “March Madness” trademark that included the March Madness Experience in Peoria.
As head of the IHSA, Mr. Fry also served on the national council of the National Federation of State High School Associations and was the president of the Federation during the 1995-96 school year.
Mr. Fry retired in 2002 after 35 years at the IHSA, making him the longest-serving administrator in the Association’s history. A few years ago he moved from Bloomington to Chatham to be closer to his family. Mr. Fry is survived by his wife, Adrienne; daughters Kim, Karen, and Katie and son David, and several grandchildren.
Mr. Fry will be missed by his many friends in the interscholastic community throughout Illinois and the rest of the country. Information about services and memorials will be posted as it becomes available.
Dave Fry talks about the new March Madness Experience (1996)
Dave Fry talks about the IHSA TV Network, the Internet, 8-class football, and sportsmanship (2000)
Dave Fry obituary from the Chicago Tribune
Dave Fry column from Bloomington Pantagraph