IHSA Officials Conference Celebrates 25 Years On July 12-13: Registration Now Open


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IHSA Officials Conference Celebrates 25 Years On July 12-13: Registration Now Open

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The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) is excited to celebrate 25 years of its annual professional development conference for athletic officials, as the 2024 IHSA Officials Conference will unfold on Friday and Saturday, July 12-13, 2024, at Normal West Community High School in Normal.

IHSA officials can register for the event online via the IHSA Officials Center (for any questions on registration, please contact Melissa Burt at mburt@ihsa.org).

Each summer, the IHSA holds the officials conference for the over 12,000 licensed athletic officials in Illinois, providing training in all sports in a collegial atmosphere focused on empowering officials to grow in their craft.

“This conference was one of the first events of its type in the country, and the fact that we are now celebrating 25 years just goes to show the value it has for our officials,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “We appreciate and thank all the current and past attendees who have helped it evolve over time and we hope it has had a similar impact on those who have taken part.”

Celebrating a quarter century won’t be the only history at the event, as the IHSA will hold its first girls flag football officials clinic within the event. The IHSA announced in February that it will debut a State Series in the sport during the fall of 2024. Over 500 individuals have already signed up to serve as IHSA flag football officials.

The IHSA will have a community service piece to the conference once again in 2024, as the IHSA will team up with Donate Life Illinois to encourage attendees to become organ, eye, and tissue donors.

“Working in surgery I have seen both sides of organ donation,” said Joseph Meyer, a 24-year IHSA official who resides in Springfield. “The wonderful way the hospital does honorary walks for the person donating and their families. Then I have seen families get the chance to live normal lives after receiving a donation. That’s why all my family members are organ donors.”

Despite a national shortage in officials, the IHSA has seen an increase in the number of officials licenses it has issued in each of the past two school years. 

“We are excited about the progress, but we can never have enough officials,” said IHSA Associate Executive Director Kurt Gibson. “We are striving to continue to find ways to recruit new officials while retaining our current officials. We hope that the uptick in licenses will correlate to greater attendance at the conference, as we believe this conference is an exceptional resource for officials to simultaneously celebrate officiating, improve their skills, and network with their peers.”

Gibson, who retired as the IHSA’s Associate Executive Director on July 1, will continue to oversee the IHSA’s officiating efforts in a part-time role moving forward. He will serve as the keynote speaker for the 25th anniversary event, as he reflects on his career and experiences at the IHSA, which began in 2002 and included serving as the IHSA administrator for boys golf, boys basketball, boys and girls gymnastics, boys and girls tennis, softball, bass fishing, esports, and sports medicine. 

The conference will feature clinic opportunities, breakout sessions on specific officiating topics, a delegate meeting for all recognized officials’ associations, and an awards ceremony where the Officials of the Year and service awards will be presented.

Walk-up registration at the event is allowed, but interested individuals are strongly encouraged to register online in the IHSA Officials Center or by contacting Melissa Burt at mburt@ihsa.org.

The 2023-24 IHSA Officials of the Year include:


Sport Official of the Year Hometown
Boys Soccer Jay Weis Mundelein
Girls Soccer Kevin Parker Lombard
Football Fred Steinway Quincy
Boys Basketball Darrin Sortor Sherman
Girls Basketball Kenneth Pink Arlington Heights
Boys Lacrosse Scott Rogowski Algonquin
Girls Lacrosse Patrick Nolan Elmwood Park
Baseball John Cyr Woodridge
Softball James Bauser Springfield
Girls Volleyball Sharon Walker Stanford
Boys Volleyball Aaron Woods Channahon
Boys Swimming & Diving Mark Markwell South Elgin
Girls Swimming & Diving Patricia Flesher Waukegan
Water Polo Colleen Lyons Homer Glen
Cross Country Leo Vandervlugt Chillicothe
Boys Track & Field Thomas Miller Carpentersville
Girls Track & Field Kelley Lucas Mt. Zion
Girls Gymnastics Hilary Carlson Bloomingdale
Competitive Cheerleading April Mahy New Lenox
Competitive Dance Laura Panuska Woodridge
Wrestling Derek Ryan Kankakee



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