Two of the top brass at the Colorado High School Activities Association announced their plans to retire at the end of the school year.
Rhonda Blanford-Green was the first African-American female commissioner in the history of the 103-year-old National Federation of High Schools, according to CHSAANow.com. Blanford-Green, who was a star athlete at Aurora Central High School, rejoined CHSAA in 2017. She’d been an assistant and associate commissioner with CHSAA from 1996 to 2012.
Blanford-Green was the executive director at the Nebraska School Activities Association from 2012 to 2015 and was an assistant executive director at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association from 2015 to 2017.
“I love my job, this staff, and the membership, and I have been proud to serve the students and member schools of Colorado, and to lead one of the best associations in the nation,” Blanford-Green said in a statement on CHSAANow.com. “I look forward to viewing from the sidelines as they continue to raise the bar on education-based athletics and activities.”
Blanford-Green introduced digital platforms that improved education, operations, outreach and communication, chsaanow.com said. She also created a handbook committee to help facilitate collaborative statewide discussions before CSHAA’s board of directors turned them into bylaws. The website said student-athletes were able to complete all 31 seasons and other related events during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Someone has to captain the ship, but it took a collective effort from leaders at all levels across the state to make that happen for the mental and physical well-being of our student athletes that have been negatively impacted by COVID,” Blanford-Green said in the CHSAANow.com statement.
Blanford-Green was an 18-time All-American in track and field at the University of Nebraska. After college, she qualified twice for the U.S. Olympic Trails and then coached at Aurora Central and Eaglecrest high schools and the University of Wyoming before joining the CHSAA.
The other retiree is associate Commissioner Tom Robinson. He graduated from Colorado State University (he played football, basketball and ran track and field) in 1969. He started officiating that summer. CHSAANow.com said his first teaching job was at Regis Jesuit High School in 1969. He also coached several sports, including basketball from 1983-1993). He joined CHSAA in 2001.
For all 20 years at CHSAA, Robinson has overseen officials, the sportsmanship program, as well as boys and girls golf.
“I’ve met so many great people along the way,” Robinson said on CHSAANow.com “The CHSAA, a unique set of people dedicated to education-based activities and athletics, made my life fuller and more whole.”
Robinson is the president of the National Association of Sports Officials and the replay coordinator for the Big-12 Conference.
“On behalf of the board and the association, I want to thank Rhonda and Tom for their service,” CHSAA Board of Directors President Luke DeWolfe said. “The association owes a great debt of gratitude to both of them. They have truly exemplified what educationally-based athletics are about. Through their combined efforts, they have helped to make Colorado one of the most respected interscholastic athletic associations in the country.
“We will miss them dearly but are happy and excited for them to begin a new chapter in their lives. We wish them nothing but the best moving forward.”