Neubauer named new DIAA chief

Tommie-NeubauerDOVER — Tommie Neubauer was the athletic director at Middletown High in 2003 when he went for his masters.

He remembers being asked to list a goal for what he would do with his degree in athletic administration.

“Figuring it was the ultimate (job) in the state, I just wrote, ‘To one day be the executive director of the DIAA,’” Neubauer recalled. “And I kind of chuckled, because I was very happy at Middletown and I was very happy with everything going on as an athletic director.”

But, one thing led to another, and on Monday Neubauer was officially named the next executive director of the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The 58-year-old former football referee and softball umpire will take over the position on July 11. He replaces Kevin Charles, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

After working as Charles’ lone assistant since 2005, Neubauer was the logical choice to move up to executive director. Neubauer described it as “a natural progression.”

“I kind of like the whole flow over the last 20 years after being in curriculm for so many years,” he said. “I’ve kind of had this second but exciting career in athletics.”

A 1980 West Chester State College grad, Neubauer was a social studies teacher at Middletown for 20 years as well as the Cavaliers’ AD for eight.

With the DIAA, Neubauer has worked as coordinator of officials and events.

He officiated football from 1984 to 2008 with the Northern Delaware Football Officials Association, serving as the organization’s youth league assignor for 12 years. He was also a member of the Delaware Softball Umpires Association for 20 years, serving as the group’s president from 1996-98.

A native of Milmont Park. Pa., Neubauer played football and ice hockey and threw the javelin in high school.

He’s even worked as an usher and game-day staff member for Phillies’ home games for the past 13 years — a job he’ll now be giving up.

“I have a very varied resume,” said Neubauer, a Bear resident. “I’ve been a teacher, a coach, an athletic director, a parent and now a state administrator. I feel at least I’ve been inside every door but I am by no means the expert.

“The strength and the expertise with DIAA lies with those 250 committee people and all of our member-school people that have input. I think I have a good ear to listen to them, in having some common experience with almost every person that comes to the table.”

Neubauer, whose masters in athletic admininstration comes from Ohio University, also has experience with the National Federation of State High School Associations.

He has been a member of the NFHS Softball Rules Committee since 2014 and was recently selected as the chairman of the NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rules Committee.

The DIAA’s only full-time employees are the executive director, his assistant and a secretary. Much of the organization’s work — from running state tournaments to establishing rules — is done by administrators and coaches from the member schools.

Neubauer said the goal in hiring his assistant is finding someone whose expertise meshes but doesn’t necessarily duplicate his own.

“Having another person with officials and AD experience may not be the best thing for the staff,” said Neubauer. “Kevin (Charles) and I complimented each other very, very well.”

If there’s one thing Neubauer said he’s learned from Charles, it’s to listen first and act second. The DIAA oversees 110 schools.

“I thought one of Kevin’s best attributes was listening and being a consensus builder,” said Neubauer. “With all the variants we have in Delaware with our high school and middle school athletics, that is the legacy I’d like to take from him and continue.”

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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