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State high school athletics commissioner Ron Laird announces retirement

State track 2022. Inset: Ron Laird (Dan Cepeda, Oil City; WHSAA)

CASPER, Wyo. — Ron Laird, Commissioner of the Wyoming High School Activities Association since 2004, has announced his intention to retire effective June 30, 2023, according to a release Thursday by the WHSAA.

 Laird will be completing a 45-year career in education.

The WHSSA release highlighted Laird’s accomplishments in enhancing safety, ushering programs through the COVID-19 pandemic, and launching the WHSAA Student Advisory Council in 2008 to promote sportsmanship.

Laird also added Indoor Track, Girls Softball and Girls Wrestling to the list of sanctioned events, and moving the State Football Championships to the University of Wyoming to give athletes the opportunity to play at War Memorial Stadium.

Safety and risk minimization were prime concerns during Laird’s tenure, according to the release.  The WHSAA was one of the first states to initiate a rule that would not allow an unconscious athlete to return to play on the same day. The WHSAA was also one of the first states to offer concussion insurance to all participating athletes.

“He has increased sponsorships over the years, which has allowed the WHSAA to not have to raise school dues or ticket prices for culminating events,” the release said, adding that new WHSAA office he secured matching funds for has been well-used.

The WHSAA said Laird took pride in being a servant leader. His goal was to assist schools by having the WHSAA provide leadership to the member schools in advancing their programs. 

“I was very fortunate to have a dedicated staff that shared the common goal of service,” Laird said. “The most enjoyable benefit of this job was the relationships that were developed with such quality and dedicated coaches, sponsors, officials and administrators across this great state.”

Laird added: “I have been blessed to have outstanding mentors throughout my career, as well as a loyal staff, both in Powell and the 19 years at the WHSAA. I am one of the lucky ones that has got to enjoy and look forward to going to work every day. Attempting to be a good role model and demonstrating a strong work ethic was a goal throughout my career. 

“The part I will miss the most is the people. I have been so fortunate that this position has provided me the opportunity to establish long-lasting relationships and friendships with so many quality individuals across the state and Nation.”

The full release is below: