Andy Warner Named New Executive Director of MPSSAA

When Ned Sparks announced this part March that he would be stepping down as Executive Director of the MPSSAA, it began the difficult process of finding someone who was capable of replacing Sparks. It wasn't an easy task finding that certain someone- Sparks had been Executive Director of the MPSSAA for 34 years, is a highly regarded figure and had led Maryland high school athletics through many transitions during that time period. At the end of the search, it was Andy Warner, Sparks's assistant at the MPSSAA since 2006, who was named the new Executive Director. Warner begins his new job August 1.

"It is a position in which you have the opportunity to work with the great people of Maryland, providing great experiences for student-athletes," said Warner. "I truly believe in the educational value of what student-athletes receive by playing sports. Thus, it became a natural decision for me to apply for the position because I believe in what we do."

Along with having to replace a living legend in Sparks, Warner is faced with many challenges that come with the new position. For him, it is essential that the MPSSAA remains one of the best at providing student-athlete safety.

"It is continually changing. We need to make sure we are always being vigilant for health and safety, learning from the ever changing world of medicine and new information," said Warner. "We want to be at the forefront of providing excellent athletic experiences for all in a safe manner."

Another challenge that Warner will be facing is making decisions which may not please everyone. The state of Maryland offers a multitude of public high schools which come from different situations, ranging from schools in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area, the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, St. Mary's County in Southern Maryland, the Garrett County schools in rural Western Maryland and the schools on the Eastern Shore. Every school district offers their own needs.

"We have strong input from our membership- they help us set our vision and goals. It falls on the Executive Director to help with these initiatives," said Warner. "It is important to showcase the leadership that makes sure that this is a collaborative effort. The decisions we make need to have everyone in mind, not just the athletes and coaches, but the different school systems as well."

While there are numerous challenges facing Warner, he has an excellent template for how the Executive Director should go about their business.

"Mr. Sparks is a tremendous person, everyone in the state knows that. His consistency and ethical values are tremendous. He is also a person of integrity," said Warner. "Those types of values are what I want to emulate because those are the types of values people respect. I want to show consistency, integrity, and look out for the well-being of the 113,000 student-athletes we have in our programs across the state of Maryland."


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July 29th, 2015By: Wick Eisenberg

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