Former SDR activities director to receive national award
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
A former School District of Rhinelander activities director who currently is the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association’s assistant director has been selected as one of 15 leaders of high school activity programs across the country to receive a citation this summer from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Tom Shafranski will be the recipient of the NFHS Citation in Section 4, which includes the five-state area of Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. The award honors individuals for their contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, officiating and fine arts/performing arts programs.
“This is very special,” Shafranski said of being selected for the award. “It has been a phenomenal 35 years working in education.”
From 1996-2000, Shafranski was the activities director for grades 6-12 in the Rhinelander district after serving as an associate principal and activities director for just the senior high school from 1993-96.
Shafranski noted the departure of Jack Bennett from Rhinelander to become the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1996 made it possible for him to become the Rhinelander district’s activities director.
In Shafranski’s seven years in the district, he said he recalls Rhinelander as being a “city that loves high school sports.”
Shafranski, who joined the WIAA staff in 2002, has been responsible for the association’s administration of the sports of golf, hockey, swimming and diving, and tennis. He also oversees the WIAA Scholar-Athlete program and provides support for student eligibility matters.
In addition to his involvement at the state association level, Shafranski has been active nationally on the NFHS Ice Hockey Rules Committee and served as the chair of that committee from 2011-14. He had a leading role in implementing changes related to concussion protocol, checking from behind and other safety rules.
Though hockey had a tradition of being a “hard-impact” sport, Shafranski said regulations were put in place with the safety of the players in mind to have hockey become a more “free-skating, wide-open” sport.
“We really had to change the culture of hockey,” he said.
Shafranski has also served as a member of the NFHS Swimming and Diving Rules from 2005-2009.
During his tenure on the WIAA staff, Shafranski has been honored as the 2009 Wisconsin High School Golf Coaches Association Friend of Golf recipient. The inscription on the award states, “If there has been a way to improve the growth, administration, rule issues or competitive opportunities for golf, Tom has made it happen.”
He had also been an assistant golf coach while in Rhinelander.
Shafranski and the other 2017 NFHS Citation recipients will receive their awards July 1 at the 98th annual NFHS Summer Meeting in Providence, R.I.