Two CPS Athletic Directors Honored with State Awards

May 19, 2020

The Southwest Ohio Athletic Director Association (SWOADA) and Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (OIAAA) recently announced that two CPS athletic directors are recipients of 2020 awards. 

Josh Hardin, director of athletics, is the recipient of the 2020 Athletic Director of the Year Award. 

The annual award is presented to an individual who exemplifies the highest standards of their profession and who, through their influence on the lives of young people, has made significant contributions to their school and community.

Hardin has been the district's athletic director since 2016. 

Under his leadership, the district now offers an elementary athletic program with camps, clinics and athletic competition for students in grades K-6. He also organized the Student Athletic Leadership Team to inspire high school athletes to be leaders in their school and community. In 2018, he launched the Academic & Athletic Accountability (AAA) Pathway to offer academic support and resources for all student-athletes. AAA Pathway was highlighted in Education Week, a national publication.

"I am honored to be presented with this award and to be working with a staff that is so dedicated to our student-athletes," Hardin said. 

Steve Ellison, athletic director at Walnut Hills High School, was presented with the 2020 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his length of service, special accomplishments and contributions to athletic administration at the local, state and national levels. In 2019, he was honored as the Athletic Director of the Year.

He has been the athletic director at Walnut Hills since 2017, joining Activities Beyond the Classroom as an athletic director in 2013. Through a collaborative partnership, Activities Beyond the Classroom employs nine athletic directors in the district. 

Over the past three years, Ellison's accomplishments include upgrading signage in athletic facilities, recognizing student-athletes more frequently, increasing summer camp participation, creating a Student Athlete Leadership Team, and adding two new sports, field hockey and water polo.

Ellison is also the president of the Minority Athletic Directors Association, which focuses on providing scholarships for minority student-athletes, mentorship, college workshops, and community service throughout southwest Ohio. 

"It is an honor to receive this award. I have been blessed to be surrounded by phenomenal staff, coaches, teachers, administrators, and students," Ellison said.

Hardin and Ellison will receive their awards in November at the OIAAA State Conference in Columbus.