Savarese tapped to lead NFHS

Indianapolis, IN – Steve Savarese, executive director of the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA), was elected by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Board of Directors to serve as the association’s president-elect for the upcoming academic year. Kerwin Urhahn, executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHAA), began his one year term as the 61st president of the NFHS July 2 following the NFHS Summer Meeting, which was held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Savarese will begin his one year term as the federation’s president in July, 2021.

Savarese became executive director of the AHSAA in July 2007, after serving as a teacher, coach, athletic director and administrator in the states of Kansas and Alabama for more than 40 years. He is the fourth full-time AHSAA executive director.

Now in in his 14th year as executive director, Savarese has emphasized health, safety and sportsmanship, and he developed – through the AHSAA Central Board – a revenue-sharing program that has returned more than $17 million to member schools since its implementation in 2010.

The Leeds High School graduate began his career as head football coach of Douglass (Kansas) High School, leading the program to a state championship before returning to Alabama. After returning to his home state he became head football coach and athletic director at Birmingham’s Ensley High School for three years before spending 12 years at Benjamin Russell, seven years at Daphne and three years at McGill-Toolen Catholic. Savarese’s overall head coaching record stands at 232-90 over 32 seasons including 14 region crowns, a pair of state titles and an undefeated season in 2001.

In addition to his service on the NFHS Board of Directors, Savarese has served on numerous NFHS committees and is currently the chair of the NFHS Network Board of Directors. He has been inducted into numerous halls of fame including the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. 

The following individuals were approved by the federation’s National Council for four-year terms on the NFHS Board of Directors: Tom Keating, executive director, Iowa High School Athletic Association, Section 4; Ty Jones, executive director, Idaho High School Activities Association, Section 8; and Dave Frazier, athletic director, Rutherford (New Jersey) High School; at large, Sections 1 and 4. 

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,500 high schools and 12 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at