Friday, October 9, 2009

Whitfield replaces Adams as NCHSAA head



Davis Whitfield officially became the next executive director of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Thursday.

The NCHSAA staff learned that he accepted the position on Thursday afternoon, and the organization's board of directors received notification. Whitfield will succeed Charlie Adams, who will end his 25-year tenure on Jan. 30.

Norm Loewenthal, director of the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education at the University of North Carolina, made the appointment and the announcement. A university committee did the search and screening.

"This is an extremely exciting day, and I'm glad that it is finally here," Whitfield said Thursday.

Whitfield, 39, is an associate commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference. He has served on Commissioner John Swofford's executive staff and manages 22 sports and 21 conference championships. Among his duties are developing multi-year schedules, addressing sportsmanship issues and enforcing conference game-management issues.

Whitfield said he needs to learn more about the high school association and its priorities and plans to speak with Adams and the NCHSAA board before formulating plans.

"From the outside looking in, I suspect we'll need to look into our revenue sources and see if we can get some new revenue," he said. "I believe we'll want to explore the use of more technology."

Adams said he expects the rest of the staff to stay.

"I certainly hope so because we have, what I believe to be, the best staff in the country," Adams said.

Whitfield said he is pleased to be inheriting such a veteran staff.

"I look forward to getting their feedback and learning more about how the association operates," he said.

Whitefield is married to the former Nicole Torode of Palatka, Fla. Will, their son, is almost 5, and daughter Sydney Grace is almost 2.

Adams was not a part of the job search, but he said the eight-person search committee found the ideal person to head the NCHSAA, which organizes interscholastic athletic competition for its 386 schools.

"I don't think the committee could have found a better person," Adams said. "Davis Whitfield is an excellent choice. He is truly a remarkable person. He has the passion and the experience that is needed for the position. I did not know him personally before the search began, but I have talked to a lot of people about him and I have not heard one negative word."

Adams said he couldn't be more pleased with Whitfield's accepting the job.

"It is time for a change. Change is good," he said. "It is time to put on a new uniform. I will be his biggest cheerleader. Davis will be coming in here with all his administrative skills and abilities and will put his own mark on the association. I am pleased with my run, and I'm pleased with where the association is. But I have tremendous confidence in Davis."

Whitfield attended Rosewood High near Goldsboro and played baseball at East Carolina for two seasons before transferring and playing for two seasons at the University of North Carolina. He is a charter member of the Rosewood High sports hall of fame. He played football for the late Branch Pope and baseball for Gary Overton at Rosewood.

Whitfield is a 1993 graduate of UNC with a degree in exercise science. He received his Master of Arts degree in sports administration from UNC in 1995.

He later worked with UNC's Beth Miller, who is the school's senior associate athletic director for Olympic sports, and with UNC's Willie Scroggs, the senior associate athletic director for operations and facilities.

Whitfield was an assistant athletic director at Campbell University for three years and later at Wake Forest University. He joined the ACC office in 2002.

"Davis is a wonderful person and the perfect fit for this job," Wake Forest University athletics director Ron Wellman said. "He is a person of great integrity, and he is personable. ... He is the perfect choice."

Swofford echoed Wellman's praises, saying that Whitfield had been a key contributor to the ACC.

"He has had a hand in many different facets of our office," Swofford said. "He is simply a wonderful person. He has great enthusiasm, energy and is a man of great integrity."

The NCHSAA has had only three full-time executive directors -- Hap Perry (1948-1966), Simon Terrell (1967-88) and Adams (1984-2010). UNC professors E.R. Rankin (1924-42) and C.E. McIntosh (1943-47) preceded Perry as heads of the organization.

-- Tim Stevens, Raleigh N&O

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