Dan Washburn, who served for 17 years as Executive Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 2nd during ceremonies held at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown hotel.
Washburn was among 12 inductees enshrined into the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame to close out the 92nd annual NFHS Summer Meeting.
He is the eighth Alabamian to be inducted, beginning with Cliff Harper in 1987. Other Alabama inductees were Dan Gaylord (1988), Bart Starr (1989), Herman L. "Bubba" Scott (1990), the late Wallace "Mickey" O'Brien (1992), Glenn Daniel (1999) and Sam Short (2007). Harper and Scott, like Washburn, are former AHSAA Executive Directors inducted as administrators. Daniel and Wallace were inducted as coaches, Gaylord and Short as officials, and Starr went in as an athlete.
"I am so humbled by this honor," Washburn said. "I have been very fortunate in my life to have the opportunity to work as a coach, teacher and administrator. I have had so many great opportunities in my life. I am truly blessed."
Washburn, who retired in 2007, was instrumental in the development of outstanding venues for AHSAA championship sports. It was under his leadership that the current corporate partner program began to reach its potential and make possible events such as the Super 6 football championships, Final 48 basketball championships and Elite Eight volleyball championships. He also established the STAR Sportsmanship initiative as an eligibility requirement.
He served on the NFHS Board of Directors and was NFHS president in 2005-06.
"We are so proud of Mr. Washburn," AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said. "His contributions to the AHSAA and to the schools and children of our state is a legacy that we are so thankful for."
Washburn graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of Chattanooga (now the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) and later received his master's degree in school administration from Troy State University.
He began his coaching and teaching career in 1962 at Valley High School as an assistant football and head basketball coach. He moved to Lanett High School in 1967 as head football coach and athletic director.
After coaching a year at Autauga County High School (Prattville), he returned to Lanett in 1974 as assistant principal, athletic director and head football coach. His head-coaching record was 115-49-4 with 109 wins coming at Lanett. In 1984 he began a seven-year stint as Superintendent of Lanett City Schools before becoming executive director of the AHSAA in 1991.
He became only the third full-time director after the retirement of Scott, who had served since 1966. Harper, now deceased, became the first full-time AHSAA head in 1948 with the establishment of a State Office in Montgomery. Prior to that, Sellers Stough of Birmingham had served as director on a part-time basis.
Washburn was inducted into the AHSAA Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
The other inductees in the Class of 2011 are athletes Randall McDaniel (Arizona), Kevin McReynolds (Arkansas), Kenny Monday (Oklahoma), Billy Owens, (Pennsylvania); and the late Brad Van Pelt (Michigan); coaches Leta Andrews (Texas), Curt Bladt (Iowa); Larry Shaw (West Virginia), and Pete Shock (New Mexico); and contest officials Emry Dilday (Missouri) and Rick Tucci (Florida).
The National High School Hall of Fame was started in 1982 by the NFHS to honor high school athletes, coaches, contest officials, administrators, fine arts coaches/directors and others who have been nominated through their state associations for their extraordinary achievements and accomplishments in high school sports and activity programs. This year's class increases the number in the Hall of Fame to 386.