History of the LHSAA
In October of 1920 a group of high school principals met in Baton Rouge to discuss ways to better regulate and develop the high school interscholastic athletic program. This meeting led to the formation of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. C.A. Ives was asked to appoint a committee to draft a constitution for the association. Committee members were P.H. Griffith, S.M. Brame, P.C. Rogers and Grover C. Koffman. On the last day of the conference the committee presented its report to the group which adopted it almost entirely, and the LHSAA became a reality. Membership in the association included the approved high schools of the state. There was only one classification of schools, and the annual membership fee was $2.00 per school.
Many of the present articles in the constitution were found in that original constitution. The association later voted to have two classifications of schools, Class 1A consisting of schools with an enrollment of 110 boys or more and Class B for schools with less than 110 boys. About ten years later Class 2A for schools with 300 or more boys was created and Class C with 45 boys or less enrolled was added in 1949. In 1954 a fifth classification was formed and in 1971 a sixth. In 1991 another classification was created for a total of seven - Class 5A, Class 4A, Class 3A, Class 2A, Class 1A, Class B, and Class C.
T.H. “Muddy” Waters of Hammond was selected by the executive committee in 1953 to serve as the first full-time commissioner of the LHSAA. Louisiana was the 38th state to employ a full-time executive director to administer its high school athletic program.
In 1966 Frank Spruiell was hired as the association’s first assistant to the commissioner. Spruiell was elected commissioner in July 1971 to replace Waters who retired after serving 18 years as commissioner. James Graves was selected to serve as assistant to the commissioner.
In May 1976 the executive committee created another administrative position, and in July 1976 Tommy Henry was hired as administrative assistant to the commissioner. James Graves was named assistant commissioner.
In January 1983 Henry was elected commissioner, replacing Spruiell who retired after serving the LHSAA 17 years - 12 years as commissioner and 5 years as assistant to the commissioner. Mac Chauvin joined the association as an assistant commissioner in July 1983. Donald Dunbar served as an assistant commissioner from July 1987 until his retirement in July 1989. He replaced Graves who died in September 1986. B.J. Guzzardo, Jr. has served as assistant commissioner since July 1989.
The association currently administers 27 championship sports programs - 14 for boys and 13 for girls. In 1990 Louisiana became the first state in the Nation to include a wheelchair division in its state track and field competition for disabled student-athletes. Member schools now total 389 and the association certifies the eligibility of approximately 70,000 student-athletes annually.
In 1992-93 the official handbook was completely revised for the first time in the association’s 72-year history and improved upon again in 2008-09 making it more user friendly.
At the 1996 Annual Convention the LHSAA celebrated its 75th Anniversary and honored the thirteen living past presidents and the three commissioners of the association.
In April of 2006, Commissioner Henry announced his plans to retire effective October 5, 2007. Tommy Henry served 24 years as commissioner and 32 total years in the LHSAA office. In October of 2007, Kenneth Henderson, principal of Ruston High School, was selected as the LHSAA’s fourth commissioner.
In January of 2007 the membership voted to add a third assistant commissioner and in June, Rhonda Dreibelbis was hired as the association’s first female assistant commissioner. Mac Chauvin retired in December of 2008, and Keith Alexander was hired to replace him as director of officials.
In January of 2008, the Executive Committee authorized Commissioner Henderson to build a new office building for the association. A parcel of land was purchased on Old Hammond Highway in Baton Rouge and construction began in May, 2009. The building was completed in December, and the staff moved into its permanent home in January 2010.
During its 2010 summer meeting, the Executive Committee voted to change the Commissioner’s title to Executive Director and the Assistant Commissioners to Assistant Executive Directors.
In June, 2013, Rhonda Dreibelbis retired and Ronda Richardson, former executive committee member and principal of LaSalle High School, was chosen to replace her.