COLUMBUS, Ohio – Doug Ute was recently named the new executive director of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) by the association’s board of directors.
Even though Ute is the new face of the organization and has the final say in decisions regarding high school sports, he is by no means new to Ohio sports— not by a long shot.
Ute made it very clear what his overall philosophy was going to be regarding Ohio high school sports and his future tenure as the leader of the OHSAA at an introductory teleconference Sept. 9. He discussed his very specific leadership style and the way he hopes to usher in a new era of Ohio sports as the organization’s 11th leader in its 113-year history.
“My leadership style is founded on communication and unity,” Ute said. “The different associations that are involved with our organization must stay in communication. From principles to officials, communication is key.”
Ute also addressed the COVID-19 crisis and what he thought about the future of the OHSAA in light of the crisis.
“The OHSAA will always be around for our student athletes and will survive the COVID-19 crisis.” said Ute.
The crisis has already greatly impacted the OHSAA. Tournaments in all sports through-out Ohio have and will experience financial difficulty due to the fact that spectator capacity limits will be reduced to 15 percent.
Ute will show what he has learned throughout his career in athletics during the COVID-19 impacted start to his new position. Where would the new OHSAA executive director be without the lessons that he learned in his youth when he was in the shoes of the very high school students that he now oversees all these years later?.
“Extracurriculars were so important to me 40 years ago at Clear Fork,” Ute said. “Those experiences and relationships, which shaped my philosophy of communication and unity, will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Ute has been around Ohio sports and education for quite some time. A Bellville resident in his youth, he got his start as a student-athlete at neighboring Clear Fork High School, graduating in 1980.
Ute went on to play basketball at Ashland University, which is where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Marketing. After college he embarked on an illustrious career as a coach, teacher, athletics administrator and principal.
In 2000 he became superintendent of the Elgin school district, and for the last 11 years he has held that same position for the Newark schools. All that experience makes it clear that there isn’t much Ute hasn’t done in the name of education and sports for Ohio’s youth, and those credentials eventually helped him earn the top spot at OHSAA.
In addition to very obviously being a sports guy, Ute has a loving wife named Kory. Together they have four children and eight grandchildren. One cannot help but wonder if a passion for sports runs throughout the entire Ute family. With such a fearless and capable sports patriarch as Doug Ute, it would not be difficult to imagine that they probably follow in his footsteps.