Buchanan Athletic Director Fred Smith will receive the Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award Dec. 18 in San Antonio. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Archived Story

Buchanan’s Smith wins national honor

Published 5:51pm Thursday, November 29, 2012

Veteran Buchanan Athletic Director Fred Smith was recently awarded the 2012 Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

Smith will receive the award at the Dec. 18 43rd National Athletic Directors Conference in San Antonio. It will be the 28th consecutive national conference Smith has attended.

“I knew I was nominated for it, but I didn’t expect it,” Smith said. “Each region gets to nominate one, and there are eight regions. There are a lot of good ADs across the country. You don’t get into this for honors. You are just appreciative when they come your way.”

The Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award is given each year to a member who who possesses and has contributed to the vision of professional development – the legacy of Frank Kovaleski – and who has made significant contributions and demonstrated excellence in professional development at the local, state and national levels.

Kovaleski was the director of the NIAAA, as well as the assistant director of the National Federation of State High School Associations, from 1989 until he retired in 2005.

He was responsible for starting the NIAAA Leadership Training Program in 1996 and expanding the NIAAA Certification Program in 1999.

Smith has either been a teacher, a coach or an administrator for 32 years. He began his career as a teacher, coach and AD at Lake Michigan Catholic in St. Joseph. He spent 16 years as the AD at Comstock. He has currently been the AD at Buchanan for the past six years.

Smith has also served at the state level on the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Executive Board from 1993 to 1998, including a term as president.

He is also a member of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Representative Council, a position he has held since 2004.

Smith was asked what advice he would give a young athletic director, he said he would give them the same message he got from his mentor — late Herb Quade, who was a long-time Benton Harbor AD.

“When I became the AD at Lake Michigan Catholic, I sought some advice from him. He said two things. One was call me any time you want, and I will help you out. And two, attend the conferences and there are three of them. You need to go to the two state conferences and you to go to the national conferences. Join your associations, both state and national and become involved.

“I was very fortunate. This December in San Antonio will be my 28th straight national conference. A lot of AD’s can’t say that. I have had supportive districts.”

The conference will be held Dec. 14-19.

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