DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

ADs conference includes festive night at Xavier

Sr. Lynn Winsor has helped put Xavier Prep athletics on the map in Arizona and nationally as the school’s athletic director, both with the teams’ performances as well as her participation in national organizations that carry the banner of prep sports through education and the implementation of the latest available ideas and equipment.

She also has been president of the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), been a member of numerous committees and was a long-time member of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s Executive Board. And she is a charter member of the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

Beginning Friday (Dec. 8) and running through Tuesday (Dec. 12), the NIAAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will hold their 48th annual National Athletic Directors Conference at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix.

Winsor and Xavier will have a key role at the event, hosting a welcoming social gathering at Founders Hall on Friday beginning at 6 p.m. The convention will have an estimated 2,000 athletic directors, other officials and exhibitors and Winsor is expecting about 200 at the XCP event, which will have a Mexican heritage theme, complete with food and entertainment (Mariachis).

“We were thinking, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a welcoming event,’ as a thank-you to all the leadership of the NFHS, the NIAAA leadership, executives and committee chairs, board of directors and the athletic directors and administrators from Arizona,’’ said Winsor, who has been at Xavier for 44 years, most of those as AD.

Xavier will operate shuttles to and from the convention center, have student ambassadors as tour guides, pointing out landmarks in town and providing facts about the school, and the school’s Dads Club will assist. The XCP campus will be adorned with holiday lights that also will welcome attendees of the annual Christmas Dance at the school on Saturday night.

There also will be a golf tournament (Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley) and a Fun Run, as well as tickets for the Phoenix Suns-San Antonio Spurs game on Saturday night (Dec. 9).

The conference offers much more than an opportunity for socializing. Winsor has attended every conference since 1985, except for 2015, when Xavier beloved associate athletic director Sr. Nancy Perlick passed away.

“The conferences are where you learn to be an effective athletic administrator,’’ Winsor said. “I have things I have learned every year at national conference that I bring back to school to make Xavier’s athletic program even better.’’

There are many workshops, and leadership-training classes and outstanding general-session speakers.

Among subjects covered are sports liability, hazing/bullying, working with parents, multi-sport participation, social media and safety issues. And, believe it or not, the newest thing – the use of drones at athletic events.

Phoenix is joining a conference rotation that includes Tampa and Orlando, Nashville, Dallas, San Antonio, National Harbor, Md. (Washington D.C. area) and southern California.

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