Ron McGraw, IHSA Track Guru, Retiring
IHSA Board of Directors met for their regularly scheduled meeting on
Monday, August 24, where the Board announced that IHSA Assistant
Executive Director Ron McGraw (left) will retire at the conclusion
of the 2015-16 school year. McGraw’s last official day at the IHSA
will be on June 30, 2016.
“It has been a privilege to spend over 30 years working in high school education in Illinois,” said McGraw. “I have been afforded incredible opportunities as a teacher, coach, athletic director, principal and finally as an administrator with the IHSA. As I reflect on my career, I’d like to hope that I was able to provide a positive impact on the students and colleagues I worked with at each stop.”
McGraw was a member of the IHSA Board of Directors (2001-2004) during his time as the principal at Knoxville High School, before being hired to join the IHSA staff at the beginning of the 2004-05 school year. McGraw has served as the administrator for Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Swimming & Diving, Boys and Girls Track & Field and Scholastic Bowl for the entirety of his tenure.
“I have the utmost respect for Ron and his service to young people in Illinois throughout his career,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “He oversaw some of the largest and most complex tournaments the IHSA conducts with professionalism and passion. The IHSA cross county state finals, swimming state finals, scholastic bowl state finals, and track & field championships are some of the best events of their kind in the country. Ron’s attention to detail, his ability to work with others, and his constant quest for excellence, has elevated all of the events he has administered for the Association. He has been an unwavering advocate for young people and a great teammate.”
McGraw was the administrator charged with facilitating three of the IHSA’s largest state final events in cross country, swimming & diving and track & field. Over 8,000 student-athletes participated in those three state final events alone last year. In 2007, he helped to develop the competition schedule when the IHSA Cross Country State Series expanded from two classes to three classes, and repeated that task when track followed suit in 2009. Additionally, McGraw spearheaded the scheduling integration efforts for the IHSA’s Athletes With Disabilities programs at the state swimming and track & field finals when those programs began in 2012. He remains proud of several changes that occurred under his direction, including Fully Automated Timing usage at all Sectional track meets, the development of a State Series hosting rotation in his sports, and the systems developed to determine state final qualifying standards for both swimming & diving and track & field.
“These events are bigger than any one person and I have been surrounded by incredible people during my time at the IHSA,” said McGraw. “I will undoubtedly leave off many many deserving individuals, but off the cuff, people like(IHSA administrative assistant) Cheryl Lowery, (IHSA official) Geza Ehrentreu, (IHSA Official) John Polka, (former Peoria HS AD) Chris Perry, (Evanston HS AD) Chris Livatino, (New Trier AD) Randy Oberembt, (IHSA Official) Mike Hutton, (IHSA Official) Joe Plack, (IHSA Official) Dave Facker, (IHSA Moderator) Sister John Baracevic and (IHSA Moderator) Rob Grierson were all vital to the success of these events, as well as first-class individuals who put the interests of students above all else.”
McGraw began his career in education as a teacher and coach at Sherrard High School, where he coached golf, football, and wrestling during a seven-year tenure. He then moved on to become the Athletic Director and Dean of Students at Monmouth High School. Three years later he was hired as the principal at Knoxville High School, a title he held for a decade before joining the IHSA.
“During my time as an IHSA Board member, I developed an even greater affinity for this organization (IHSA) and its mission,” said McGraw. “It was a highlight of my career to work on the IHSA staff, where I have had the opportunity to work alongside so many committed staff members, Board members, administrators and coaches.”
A native of Oneida, Illinois, McGraw graduated from ROWVA High School before earning his associate degree from Morrison Institute of Technology. He went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree and two Master’s Degrees from Western Illinois University.