The Robert W. Hughes FHSAA Building in Gainesville, Fla. [Courtesy of the Florida High School Athletic Association]

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors met in a special held meeting at the FHSAA Robert W. Hughes building on Saturday to determine who would become the association’s 11th overall executive director in the association’s 102 year history and FloridaHSFootball.com was the ONLY media outlet on hand as today’s interviews conducted.

The Board of Directors, which approved a list of candidates back at the February Board of Directors meeting, included five candidates around the state including two members of the FHSAA staff.

The candidates included Craig Damon, FHSAA Associated Executive Director of Eligiblity & Compliance; Lanness Robinson, Athletic Director of Hillsborough County Public Schools; David LaRosa, Director of Athletics for Lee County; Scott Bass, Deputy Superintendent of Indian River County Schools; and Jamie Rohrer, FHSAA Associate Executive Director of Administrative Services.

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Each candidate had 45 minutes to answer 12 questions from FHSAA attorney Leonard Ireland which addressed a variety of topics that included the role of the Executive DIrector and how to bring all the stakeholders together to what the biggest issue is facing high school sports and the FHSAA.

However, to get to naming the next Executive Director took two rounds of voting as Damon and Bass were the top two vote receivers in the first round of voting from the 16 members of the Board of Directors.

In the end it was Damon won in an unanimous vote by the Board Directors to name FHSAA Executive Director-elect which the Board of Directors the motion confirm unanimously the recommendation and for Ireland to enter contract negotiations.

And as such Damon’s appointment to be the Executive Director-elect also marks the first time in the FHSAA’s history that a person of color will be hired to lead the organization as it’s chief officer.

In Damon’s interview with the Board of Directors he shared his experiences from his time working at the Lowell Correctional Institute to caching youth football as well as his time as head football coach and athletic director at North Marion High in CItra. In addition to that Damon has also previously served as the FHSAA football sport administrator along with a couple of other sports.

Damon believes keeping the board of inform of day to day operations, keeping the board informed of things coming up as a part of the ideal role of Executive Director he told the board during the interview, but also stressed and emphasized his role he has held the last nine years in the association visiting member schools and wants listen to them and set the example.

Furthermore, Damon stressed reconnecting with all the memberships, groups, and establishing the relationships that are necessary for all stakeholders involved including relationships with the Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) and Florida Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (FIAAA) which some have around the state see those relationships currently fractured.

Ultimately, Damon wants to put the kids first but also respect the obligation he will have to uphold the bylaws and polices of the FHSAA.

And for Board of Directors President, Doug Dodd of Citrus County he feels that Damon is well-qualified to serve as the next Executive Director of the FHSAA and reflected on the day’s interviews.

”The Board followed a guided process to hire an exceptional candidate to be the next Executive Director of the FHSAA. From the applicant process through the final interviews, board members worked diligently to select a well-qualified and experienced candidate in Craig Damon. I am confident he will continue to advance our association in the years to come and serve our student-athletes well,” Dodd said per an FHSAA press release.

As for Damon, he extremely grateful for the opportunity.

“I am extremely grateful the Board of Directors entrusted me to the lead the Association,” exclaimed Damon. “Together we will continue to ensure the student-athletes of Florida have a great experience in education-based athletics.”

The next step will be for Ireland to enter contract negotiations and have contract finalized at the final Board of Directors meeting in June before Damon takes over on July 1, the day after current FHSAA Executive Director George Tomyn is set to retire.

https://twitter.com/fhsaa/status/1518002275611983874

EDITORS’S NOTE: Includes information from an FHSAA press release. Edited at 7:15 p.m. ET, April 23, 2022. 

SECOND EDIT: Misstated Damon’s position as the Associate Executive Director of Administrative Services. Damon’s position is the Associate Executive Director of Eligibility & Compliance. 

This is a breaking news story. Check back later for additional information.