IHSAA hires new leader. He’s already led one major reform in Idaho high school sports

Idaho’s high school sports governing body hired the ninth leader in its 98-year history Wednesday, naming Shelley Superintendent Chad Williams as its next executive director.

Williams, 51, previously spent six years serving on the Idaho High School Activities Association board of directors, and he’s served in nearly every role possible in Idaho high school sports.

Those roles range from student-athlete to coach to athletic director to principal to superintendent. He’s also served on a district board of control and with the state’s Youth Endowment for Activities foundation.

“I feel like all of those things give me a different perspective on the IHSAA,” the graduate of West Jefferson High said. “I’ve even started officiating a couple years ago so I could also experience and see that perspective.”

Williams will replace Ty Jones on July 1. Jones served as the IHSAA’s executive director for 10 years and will retire after the school year.

“I’ve had some health issues over the last couple years,” Jones, 59, said. “Even though I’m doing really good right now and even though it’s a fantastic job, I want to be able to get out while I can and do some things.

“It’s a great job. You get a chance to work with schools and kids. It was just time.”

Williams said open communication and relationship building will be his top goals with the IHSAA. He takes over the private nonprofit organization as it faces outside pressure on multiple fronts. The state’s superintendents overrode the IHSAA board last fall to install a new classification system. And a proposed 2021 bill from the Idaho Legislature would have stripped the IHSAA of its power as the top high school sports governing body in the state.

The bill never made it out of committee.

“Everything will function better if everybody feels like their voice is being heard and being represented,” Williams said. “Hopefully by building solid relationships, we can help facilitate that.”

Williams led one of the state’s largest reforms in recent years while on the IHSAA board. He spearheaded a new rule that allows schools to petition down a classification by sport. Previously, schools could only move their entire athletic program down a level. That led to several large schools winning state championships at a lower level.

Idaho went through its first re-classification under the new rule last fall.

“I’ve had this goal for a long time,” Williams said of leading the IHSAA. “I’m glad and humbled to be able to serve in this capacity.”

The classification change marks one of just a series of reforms within the IHSAA in the past 10 years. During Jones’ tenure, Idaho started seeding its state tournaments with computer rankings, signed an online broadcasting deal, approved a basketball shot clock and added two new sports — swimming and girls wrestling.

“The thing I’m most proud of is we’ve kept the IHSAA pretty stable,” Jones said. “We haven’t increased fees to our member schools one time in 10 years. And we were able to give money back to schools through the NFHS Network. That starts this year.”


Idaho high school baseball will end its quasi-official status in 2025 when the IHSAA sponsors its first official state tournaments.

Idaho has hosted high school baseball state tournaments and crowned champions for decades. But the state’s coaches and athletic directors ran those tournaments, not the state governing body. The IHSAA will sponsor those tournaments for the first time in spring 2025 after a final vote from its board Wednesday.

Baseball was the only sport sanctioned by the IHSAA where it did not sponsor and govern its state tournaments. Baseball largely followed the rules and structures of Idaho’s other state tournaments with a few tweaks, like how umpires are selected, trophies are awarded and profits are shared.

An IHSAA survey showed 86% of the coaches, athletic directors and principals at Idaho schools with a baseball team wanted the state governing body to take over the tournaments.