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Interest in FHSAA commissioner's job surges: 21 apply

The second-in-command of the Florida High School Activities Association and two other current staff members are among 21 people who have applied for the job of commissioner of the FHSAA.

Deputy Commissioner Ron Allen, a former Gaither High principal, and Director of Athletic Operations Paul McLaughlin, former athletic director in Pinellas County, have applied for the job. Jack Watford, the agency's director of communications, also is an applicant.

Allen has been with the FHSAA since 1993 and McLaughlin since 1991.

FHSAA Commissioner Ron Davis resigned in January, effective early next year. The commissioner is the executive officer of the FHSAA, operating the organization and ruling on controversies between meetings of the board and the sectional appeals committees.

Until early last week, it looked as if the board might not have many applicants to choose from. As of last Monday's board meeting, only 10 applications had been received.

"My phone was not ringing regularly, but a number of applications arrived right before the May 1 deadline," said board president and search committee chairman Rick Misenti, principal of East Lake High School. "This is a tremendously talented pool of applicants."

The pool also includes one current member of the FHSAA Board of Directors, Naples attorney Randy Merrill; St. Petersburg attorney Michael Houtz; David Morgan, program manager for the Department of Social Services in Pinellas County, and Robert Gibson, asset manager with Center Pointe Realty in Palm Harbor. Only one woman is among the 21 applicants. Deborah Moore is assistant commissioner with the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Today, each member of the search committee will receive a copy of every application with a rating system designed by search consultant and University of Florida professor Dr. Jim Doud.

"Members of the search committee will rate the resumes so when we meet in Gainesville (May 16), they will bring to the table their preferences," Misenti said.

At that meeting, the board will narrow its choices to no fewer than three applicants. A commissioner is expected to be selected in June.


Here is the list of candidates who have applied for the position of commissioner of the Florida High School Activities Association:

Ronald Allen _ Deputy commissioner of the FHSAA. Allen was principal at Gaither High until he left in 1993 to take his current job.

Tom Apke _ Presently in private business and broadcasting in Charlotte, N.C.

Don Bridges _ Currently the district athletic director for Polk County schools.

Donald Cifra _ Director of student activities and athletic department for the Broward County School Board.

Steve Duncan _ Director of athletics and associate principal at Valley High in West Des Moines, Iowa. He also is president of the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association.

Dr. Isaac Espy _ Athletic director of schools in Scottsboro, Ala., near Tuscaloosa.

Colonel Dennis Frisco _ Head basketball coach at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, Va.

Robert Gibson _ Asset manager with Center Pointe Realty in Palm Harbor.

Dr. David Hoch _ Athletic director for Eastern Technical High School in Baltimore.

Michael Houtz _ A St. Petersburg attorney.

Robert Hughes _ Retired superintendent of Alachua County schools in Gainesville.

Dr. Thomas Maher _ Assistant superintendent for instruction and school operations for Citrus County.

Paul McLaughlin _ Director of athletic operations for the FHSAA. McLaughlin is a former athletic director at Countryside and a former assistant director of centralized athletics for Pinellas County. He has been with the FHSAA since 1991.

Randy Merrill _ A Naples attorney and a current member of the FHSAA's Board of Directors.

Dr. Deborah Moore _ Assistant commissioner with the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

David Morgan _ Program manager for the Department of Social Services in Pinellas.

Bruce Patrick _ Coordinator of student activities and athletic programs for Fairfax County public schools in Fairfax, Va.

Don Richetti _ President of Whalen and Richetti Tennis Co. in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Larry Swearingen _ Athletic director for Norfolk Collegiate School, Norfolk, Va.

Ronald Violette _ Director of student services, Cabarrus County Schools, Concord, N.C.

Jack Watford _ Director of communications for the FHSAA.