Colorado High School Activities Association Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green and Associate Commissioner Tom Robinson both announced they will be retiring at the end of the 2021-22 school year during the Board of Directors meeting today.
Commissioner Blanford-Green was the first minority hire in CHSAA history as an assistant commissioner in 1996 and became the first African-American female commissioner to lead an association in the National Federation of High Schools’ 103-year history. Blanford-Green, who assumed her role as CHSAA commissioner in 2017, is the ninth commissioner in CHSAA’s history and is the first female to lead the association.
“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. “I look forward to viewing from the sidelines as they continue to raise the bar on education-based athletics and activities.”
Blanford-Green worked at CHSAA both as assistant commissioner and associate commissioner from 1996-2012. She was the executive director at the Nebraska School Activities Association from 2012-15, and was an assistant executive director at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association from 2015-17.
Since her return to Colorado, Blanford-Green has introduced several digital platforms that improved education, operations, outreach and communication. She also created the handbook committee, which helped facilitate collaborative statewide discussions prior to the passage of bylaws. Blanford-Green also led Colorado high school sports to successfully completing all 31 seasons and culminating 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.
Blanford-Green is a graduate of Aurora Central High School, where she starred in track and field and participated in spirit, volleyball and student leadership. She went on to become an 18-time All-American in track and field at the University of Nebraska. After college, she qualified twice for the US Olympic Trails and then coached at Aurora Central, Eaglecrest and the University of Wyoming before joining the CHSAA.
Blanford-Green is a member of the CHSAA Hall of Fame, Sportswomen of Colorado Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame and the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. Blanford-Green is known nationally for her advocacy around diversity, inclusion and equity and started inclusive opportunities in Colorado with disabilities in CHSAA activities. She has chaired the NFHS equity, spirit and middle school committees, and currently serves on the USA Cheer and Dance National Board of Directors.
“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 and 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.”
A graduate of Regis Jesuit, Robinson attended Colorado State University, where he competed in football, basketball and track and field. After graduating in 1969, he began officiating that summer and started his first full teaching contract at Regis Jesuit in 1969. Robinson taught math coached multiple sports – head basketball coach from 1983-93 – at the same school for 31 years before becoming a CHSAA assistant commissioner 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. “The CHSAA, a unique set of people dedicated to education-based activities and athletics, made my life fuller and more whole.”
Robinson is currently also the president of the National Association of Sports Officials and the replay coordinator for the Big-12 Conference.