R. Patrick Corbin, a man of "vision" who brought bass fishing, bowling, girls' ice hockey and "unified sports" to high school athletics in New Hampshire, is retiring next year.
Corbin, 65, tendered his resignation as executive director of New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association to the organization's executive council on Thursday. The council accepted it "with great regret," according to an NHIAA news release. He'll remain on the job until July 1.
Corbin, a former high school principal in Salem and Nashua, has been at the helm of NHIAA since 2006. He said he's proud of "hopefully being able to raise the standards of education and competency that we require of everyone, from coaches to officials."
Corbin spent Saturday, as he typically does during tournament season, going to high school games, first in Concord, then Bow. "It's the fun part of the job, to see it come together," he said.
Corbin said he'll miss being involved in the schools and seeing the students. And he said, "The things I'll miss certainly the most are the relationships with a lot of the people that I've worked with."
Still, he said, "I'd like to spend a little more time with my own family."
He and his wife of 45 years, Sandy, have two grown daughters, three grandchildren and another on the way. They live in Windham.
Scott Fitzgerald, president of NHIAA, said Corbin has brought to the organization "a work ethic that's really unmatched."
"He was the type of principal that showed up before everyone arrived and left after everybody had gone home. And he did the same with our organization."
Fitzgerald said Corbin is a man of "great vision." It was Corbin who convinced council members to make bowling a high school sport, Fitzgerald said. Then, last spring, he proposed a bass fishing tournament and again convinced skeptics.
"He looked at that as an opportunity to reach a whole new population of our students in New Hampshire," Fitzgerald said.
It was the same with "unified sports," combined teams of students with and without disabilities who compete in soccer, basketball, volleyball and track and field.
"That's a true sign of a great leader," Fitzgerald said. "They see things others don't, and not only can share that vision but kind of make that vision concrete for others."
Fitzgerald said Corbin will be tough to replace. The NHIAA will launch a national search for his successor.
Fitzgerald said the organization will start planning a proper send-off for Corbin.
"I hope we get to spend the whole year celebrating him and then have some sort of culminating event in the spring," he said.