Bissen Named Iowa A.D. of the Year


Activities Director Jeff Bissen. Photo provided by Bissen

Isabella Milone, Co- Editor in Chief

Jeff Bissen won Athletic Director (A.D.) of the Year for Iowa and is one of eight finalists at the National level for Athletic Director of the Year. The National Athletic Director of the Year will be named in July. 

Bissen is GCHS’s Activities Director, however, under that title, he is also the school’s Athletic Director. 

Bissen attributes receiving the Iowa A.D. award to many more people than just himself. 

“This award and recognition is a great honor for me as an AD but more importantly I feel this is a Glenwood award that many should share in the recognition,” said Bissen. “Any honor I receive as an AD is due to our kids performances and our coaches/sponsors job to prepare our kids to perform. Our invested parents, involved staff, supporting community and alumni deserve a lot of credit as well.”

Superintendent Devin Embray congratulates Bissen on this honor. 

“Bissen has done an outstanding job managing our programs and supporting our students, coaches and sponsors,” said Embray. “It is a great reflection of the support we have for all that we do and Mr. Bissen is a great conduit for that success. We are proud that Mr. Bissen represents our programs and district with this award.”

A long process went into being nominated as a nationalist for Athletic Director of the Year. 

“The Iowa Girls Coaches Association (IGCA) in partnership with the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) chooses an Iowa winner for the 19 different sports as well as an assistant coach of the year and A.D. of the year,” said Bissen. “After being an Iowa A.D. of the Year winner for the IGCA, there is an application/nomination process to be selected at the national level. From the national level there are 8 finalists announced and then a winner is chosen at the National Convention in July.” 

The eight national finalists include Mark Amstrong for Lincoln Southwest High School in Nebraska, Jeff Bissen for Glenwood High School in Iowa, Jonathan Capone for West Haven High School in Connecticut, Brien Dunphy for Peoria High School in Illinois, Guy Fridley for Dickinson High School in North Dakota, Scott King for Malta High School in Montana, Bobby Reinhard for Berkeley Prep in Florida and Fred Smith for Lake Michigan Catholic High School in Michigan. 

“This award represents our great coaches/sponsors and kids because they are the ones doing all the work,” said Bissen. “Our coaches/sponsors put in a lot of time with their programs and they prepare our kids daily and then our kids go out and give it their best every single day. My job is to make sure our programs and coaches have everything they need to be successful and to be able to compete at the highest level possible.”

The committee evaluated the candidates on a rubric that included: tenure as an athletic director, improvements in facilities, state and state qualifier/conference tournaments managed, professional high school athletic service, high school athletic honors received, professional contributions made for national, state, regional or conference clinics or conferences, education, training, safety, and other types of programs developed at the state/local level and, the state’s membership in NHSACA. 

“I would imagine the committee looked at the completion of our activities complex, our state girl’s track championship, other district and conference championships, fine arts awards and recognitions as well as the different programs (student leadership class) we offer kids,” said Bissen. “On top of that, I was fortunate to present at the state and national A.D. convention last year on the topic of ‘Promoting your Programs through Social Media.’”

Bissen plans to attend the National Convention in July, and has prepared a topic to present to all those who attend. 

“My presentation will be titled ‘Creating a Culture of Excellence,’” said Bissen. “I plan to talk about what we do at Glenwood to create a positive culture for our kids as well as our staff. I will talk about what has taken place over the last eight years in my time as the Glenwood High School AD and will speak on the following topics: Growing Programs, Supporting Programs, Weight Room Opportunities, Student Leadership Class, Building Community Support, Band Parents/Booster Club Organizations, Facility Improvement Projects and Promoting Programs and Accomplishments Through Social Media.” 

Bissen feels it is an honor to receive this award, and that the recognition for Glenwood is important. 

“We have done a lot of great things in the last eight years during my time as the Glenwood High School AD and it’s fun to see our success be noticed & recognized at the state & national level,” said Bissen.