CREDIT: Taylor Lehman, firstname.lastname@example.org
LIGONIER — When the news was given to West Noble athletic director Tom Schermerhorn in late September, he didn’t want to announce it to the public. He had been named Indiana’s District Two Athletic Director of the Year by the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.
The IIAAA didn’t announce it to the public either, and that’s the way Schermerhorn wanted it. He waited a couple days to tell his family, he said, and that’s when the public became aware.
“I came home after a volleyball game, and my daughter said, “Hey, got anything you want to tell me?’ She said, ‘Congratulations, I’m going to tweet that out.’ I said, ‘Honey, don’t you dare tweet that out.’ About 15 minutes later, my phone buzzes that my daughter had posted something.”
“My dad got Athletic Director of the Year in 1/6 districts in Indiana!!!!,” tweeted Madison Schermerhorn, a West Noble senior volleyball, basketball and track and field athlete and Purdue University volleyball commit, alongside four photos of her and her father. “You’re the goat dad!!!!!”
District Two covers the entire northeast Indiana region, as far west as St. Joseph and Marshall counties and as far south as Grant and Blackford counties. It also includes every school in the Fort Wayne area.
The West Noble AD was nominated for the district by Concord athletic director Dave Preheim, who was at one point in his career, the president of the IIAAA. Awards chairman Michael Hasch, who won Athletic Director of the Year for the state in recent years during his tenure at Noblesville High School in District Three, said that the criteria for a nomination is someone who “must have demonstrated outstanding contribution to interscholastic athletics, community and professional organizations.”
In more specificity, Preheim said he typically looks for longevity in a nominee — Tom Schermerhorn has been at West Noble as an athletic director for 19 years — and someone who understands the purpose of Interscholastic Athletics, keeps the best interests of athletes at heart and goes “above and beyond” when presented with challenges.
“They always ask the people who nominate to talk about it there,” Preheim said about the fall district meeting where IIAAA members nominated and voted on their respective districts’ ADs of the Year. “And the first thing I said was, ‘Any of you who have ever called West Noble and talked to Tom on the phone know that you always get a friendly, caring person who’s willing to do whatever is needed to help on the other end of the phone.’”
Being at Concord, which is near Elkhart and Goshen, Preheim said he doesn’t have constant or consistent contact with Schermerhorn. But when Preheim does, the work is handled with care and efficiency. He also said he can’t recall a moment when Schermerhorn seemed externally upset and how easily that makes the work for others around him.
“Tom is going to do whatever is possible to try to get it resolved,” Preheim said about any challenge presented to the athletic director. “It’s not important for him to be right. It’s not important for him to be the one to win. It’s important for him to do the right thing for his school and for Interscholastic Athletics.”
As one of the six district athletic directors chosen in the state of Indiana, Schermerhorn must compile letters of recommendation and other information about himself that he will give to Hasch, who will package the information together and present it to the five-person IIAAA executive board. That board selects its statewide Athletic Director of the Year at its March 17 meeting in Indianapolis.
Schermerhorn has made strides in establishing a continually progressing athletic culture at West Noble, which also is in its turn in the rotation as the president of the Northeast Corner Conference. The Chargers’ boys cross country team advanced to the state meet, while the school’s volleyball team won its first ever regional match, its boys soccer team advanced to a regional final on Class 2A and its football team recorded its best record since 2005.
Schermerhorn is also in his second year as the Section 1 Director of the IIAAA.
Last year, District Two won both the Indiana Middle School Athletic Director of the Year Award with current Fairfield High School athletic director Mark Hofer and the Indiana High School Athletic Director of the Year Award with LaVille High School athletic director Will Hostrawser.
“It’s exciting,” Schermerhorn said. “Any time your peers vote for something and they feel like you’re worthy of the job, that makes me feel good. You don’t do it for the recognition, but every once in a awhile it’s nice for someone to say, ‘Hey, nice job.’”