Sports administration: School sports councils career highlight

Retiring Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association regional director Des Smith (centre) is flanked by wellwishers (from left) Jane Johnson (Logan Park High School), Clive Rennie (Otago Boys' High Sschool), Nicki Paterson (incoming OSSSA director), Smith's wife Raylene, Dougal McGowan (Otago Boys' HS), Julie Anderson (Queen's High School) at his farewell function at the OUSA Aquatic Centre last night. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Retiring Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association regional director Des Smith (centre) is flanked by wellwishers (from left) Jane Johnson (Logan Park High School), Clive Rennie (Otago Boys' High Sschool), Nicki Paterson (incoming OSSSA director), Smith's wife Raylene, Dougal McGowan (Otago Boys' HS), Julie Anderson (Queen's High School) at his farewell function at the OUSA Aquatic Centre last night. Photo by Jane Dawber.
The establishment of sports councils in Otago secondary schools was one of the highlights of Des Smith's time as regional director of the Otago Secondary Schools Sports Association.

Smith, who lifted the profile of Otago secondary school sport in the six years he was in the job, was farewelled at the Otago University Students Association Aquatic Centre last night.

He told the 130 people at the farewell that the concept of having sports councils in schools had caught on since he started his new job as operations manager for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council in early September.

"The sports council concept has continued to evolve and it is pleasing to see that they are popping up all over the country," Smith said.

"Part of my new role is to grow that concept. Not a week goes by without getting a contact from someone wanting to set up a sports council."

Since Smith became regional director in Otago, participation by pupils in secondary school sport increased from 6200 to 6900. This has reversed the trend in other parts of the country where pupil participation in sport has declined.

There are 23 secondary schools in Otago, and 16 principals and sports co-ordinators have moved on since Smith started the job in 2006.

"All the principals and sports co-ordinators have been supportive,"

Smith said. "They encourage the development of secondary school sport because it gives balance to pupils' lives."

Four people have been members of the management committee of the OSSSA since Smith started the job in 2006.

Smith paid tribute to the support he was given by chairman Mike Corkery (John McGlashan College), Clive Rennie and Dougal McGowan (Otago Boys' High School) and Julie Anderson (Queen's High School). Jane Johnson, of Logan Park High School, had also made a significant contribution since joining the management committee.

Smith also made a special tribute to Don McLachlan, who was rector of Otago Boys' when he joined the staff in 1968.

"Don had a big influence on my career," Smith said.

"He was passionate about secondary school sport and gave support to staff who coached school teams."

Smith was asked by the Dunedin City Council to help plan the development of sports facilities at Logan Park.

"I took that on with the support of the board because the enhanced facilities would benefit secondary schools," Smith said.

"That was challenging but also rewarding because we have made significant progress in the facilities that have been provided for sport."

Smith appreciated the support given him by the Otago Polytechnic's Institute of Sport and Adventure, and Sport Otago.

Among the more than 130 people who attended the farewell to pay a tribute to Smith were his wife, Raylene, children Chris, Michael and Nicky and seven grandchildren.