AL HAMNIK: Jason Wille now the IHSAA's bulldog

2014-03-29T19:15:00Z 2014-04-07T17:21:14Z AL HAMNIK: Jason Wille now the IHSAA's bulldogAl Hamnik Times Columnist nwitimes.com
March 29, 2014 7:15 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Imagine running a day-care center, at full capacity, by yourself.

Or being Joan Rivers' plastic surgeon.

Vitamins, anyone? You'll need them.

Jason Wille also has a very demanding job. Some might call it exhausting.

The 1986 Crown Point grad is sports information director for the Indiana High School Athletic Association which has 412 member schools, hosts 20 state championship tournaments -- 10 for girls, 10 for boys -- and has 160,000 student-athletes competing annually.

Wille must feel like taffy at times, being pulled in all directions when he leaves IHSAA headquarters at 9150 N. Meridian St. for big-time prep events around the state.

Saturday's 104th annual boys state basketball finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the NBA's Indiana Pacers, was his World Series, his NCAA Final Four, his Super Bowl.

Wille was in great form carrying out his many duties. As they say in show biz, he killed it.

"It comes with the territory. I knew that when I got into the sports information business years ago," Wille said of the many demands. "I knew with this particular job that I wasn't an expert in any of the sports, necessarily, but I knew a little bit about all of them.

"You do your best to help people and answer questions and be a good representative of the the association. It's part of the job. You get pulled in different directions."

State tournaments make it very tempting to hide the clock on those long, challenging days.

"When I get home, my wife just shakes her head sometimes with the schedule that I keep," Wille said. "It helps that I'm young.

"It's hectic but I love it. I love it."

Still a region guy at heart, Wille has helped build a positive image of our area as a valuable conduit to the IHSAA, downstate school administrators and fans in general.

Heaven knows we need it.

For too long, local media has ranted about the IHSAA treating Northwest Indiana like a bad rash, ignoring us, disrespecting us.

That might've been true years ago, but not since Wille was hired and commissioner Bobby Cox brought a transparency not seen from his predecessors.

The 45-year-old Wille and wife Sherry have a son, Max, who is 9. Love of family and job makes every day sunny and in the 70s for this former C.P. Bulldog.

Saturday carried its usual nonstop stress, as does every state tournament Wille works. A Type 1 diabetic since his freshman year of high school, not even a low blood sugar from "all the running around" Saturday morning could slow him down.

"I've been on an insulin pump about five years now," he said. "You have to juggle your exercise with your food intake and the pump gives me a little more freedom to do things.

"It's the better part of my life now. You just deal with it."

Wille left his seat at courtside and was off to take care of new business.

There were two more games to be decided and officials were bracing for a capacity crowd.

Another crazy night. Oh, what fun.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at al.hamnik@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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