BOONE, Iowa – A highly successful leader in the history of Iowa high school activities, Iowa High School Athletic Association executive director Alan Beste has announced his retirement, effective July 10, 2019.
Beste’s retirement caps 30 years of dedicated service to Iowa students and IHSAA member schools. The 62-year-old has been executive director since February 1, 2015.
The IHSAA Board of Control will accept his retirement at its regular meeting in September. Beste informed the staffs of the IHSAA and Iowa Hall of Pride on Thursday.
“I am proud to have had the opportunity to lead the IHSAA, but of equal importance, I have been able to serve our member schools, students, and officials for 30 years,” Beste said. “While some of the days were long, the days have gone by quickly. Rarely did I think of what I did as ‘going to work.’ Instead, it was more like being able to live out my passion for education-based athletics and activities.”
Greg Darling, chairman of the Board of Control and superintendent of Humboldt Community School District, indicated the Board has established a timeline and search process for hiring a new executive director.
“We appreciate and commend Alan for his leadership as an assistant director and as executive director,” Darling said. “He has led the IHSAA with vision and passion while teaching us that a student-athlete’s health and safety should be our top priority.
“Thanks to Alan’s guidance, Iowa has led the way nationally with initiatives to make athletics safer, as evidenced by the work done on weight management, concussion management, and safety plans to student-athletes and spectators.”
Considered a “humble leader” by co-workers, Beste attributes his success at the IHSAA to predecessors, mentors, and the office’s staff. He worked alongside the Association’s two previous executive directors, Bernie Saggau and Rick Wulkow, then collaborated constantly with IHSAA staff, member school administrators, and student participants.
“My wife Donna, our children, and now their families have been my strongest supporters, but they have sacrificed much to allow me to pursue my passion,” Beste said. “I have missed a lot of family gatherings since 1989 because they allowed my career to come first. Now is the time for me to put them first.”
Beste left Pleasant Valley for the IHSAA in 1989 after seven years as a teacher and athletic trainer. He became the Boone office’s first Wellness Coordinator and helped establish significant benchmarks in student-athlete wellness and safety, serving the IHSAA and National Federation of State High School Associations in sports medicine and health, coaching education, swimming, tennis, and wrestling.
Among Beste’s honors as an IHSAA administrator and the organization’s fifth executive director: NFHS Outstanding Service Award, NFHS Citation, membership in multiple NFHS advisory and rules committees, the Outstanding Sports Medicine Award from the Iowa High School Athletic Directors Association, induction into the Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society’s Hall of Honor, creation of the IHSAA’s Governor’s Scholar Recognition program and Citizen-Leadership poster program, and the development of collaborative programs with the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the Iowa Cheerleading Coaches Association, and the Iowa Association of Student Councils.
A native of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Beste received a bachelor’s degree in health education from St. Cloud State and a master’s in health and physical education from Northwest Missouri State. He is an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Boone and serves on the board of Boone’s Educational Endowment Foundation, the Iowa Sports Foundation’s board of directors, and is former chairperson of the Boone County FORCE (Foundation Offering Recreation and Community Enrichment).
Beste’s wife of 35 years, Donna, is a teacher in Boone. They have raised two children, Kyle (Melanie) Beste, and Megan (Kasey) Deaver, and are the proud grandparents of Emelyn Beste.