COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors has announced the selection of Doug Ute as the OHSAA’s next Executive Director, making the former coach, teacher, athletic administrator, principal and superintendent the OHSAA’s 11th leader in its 113-year history.
Ute (pronounced “yoot”) is taking the OHSAA post after spending the last 20 years as a school superintendent, including nine years at Marion Elgin Local Schools and the last 11 years at Newark City Schools. He also coached and taught at Noble Local Schools in eastern Ohio and Buckeye Central High School, which is near his hometown of Bellville in north central Ohio.
Last spring, Ute announced that he was stepping down from his post at Newark to become Deputy Director of the Buckeye Association of School Administrators (BASA), which is the state’s superintendent’s association. Instead of serving Ohio schools at BASA, he will be doing so from the OHSAA. He takes over for Interim Executive Director Bob Goldring, who is the OHSAA’s Senior Director of Operations.
“I have always thought like a former coach and athletic director, and the OHSAA is where I want to be,” said Ute. “I am humbled to be selected by the Board of Directors for this position and join a great team at the OHSAA office. We are all aware of the uncertainties that are before us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but I know that together we can and will be stronger together. My focus has always been on helping students become better people, and athletics are such an important part in that. That is true now more than ever. I can’t wait to get started and help lead our member schools.”
“We are excited to have someone lead our organization with Doug’s experience, both in working with student-athletes and with his experience in the workings of the OHSAA,” said Jeff Cassella, President of the OHSAA Board of Directors and Athletic Director at Mentor High School. “The Board of Directors is confident that Doug’s leadership style and experience is a great fit to lead the OHSAA through this unique year.”
The Ohio High School Athletic Association plans to move forward with tournaments for all 26 of its sanctioned sports this school year, but will make cuts in other areas due a significant decrease in revenue from the cancellation of tournaments earlier this year and greatly reduced attendance permitted at upcoming tournaments.
The OHSAA Board of Directors recently approved the cuts to OHSAA office and each of the six District Athletic Boards, which coordinate the sectional and district tournaments in several sports. OHSAA member schools have not paid annual membership dues since 1998, but those fees could be collected in the future.
As a private non-profit association, the OHSAA does not receive any tax dollars. Eighty percent of the association’s revenue comes from ticket sales at postseason tournament contests. The other 20 percent come from corporate partners and officials dues. The OHSAA has 815 member high schools and approximately 760 member 7th and 8th grade schools. The OHSAA currently has 18 full-time staff members.