The North Dakota Athletic Directors Association was founded in 1968 with just over two dozen members mostly representing the larger high schools. Ken Rio from Grand Forks was elected the first president of the NDADA. The presidency of the organization was generally a two year term of office but some of the early officers chose to serve a one year term. The annual meeting was in October and held in conjunction with the North Dakota School Administrators Fall Conference. The main function objective at the meeting was to coordinate the state athletic and physical education supply/equipment bids. Another major topic was scheduling of state tournaments and where they should be hosted.
By the mid 1970's several larger class B school athletic directors began attending the meeting which created another major topic, "Sharing of Ideas that Work". Through the next few years the group grew in membership and also identified that they would like to recognize a members with the awarding of the Athletic Director of the Year award. Milo Dullum, Athletic Director from Dickinson High School was the first to receive the Athletic Director of the year award in 1980.
The organization nominated several of its early pioneers who became active both on the state and national level to receive National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association awards. Dick Karlgaard, Athletic Administrator from Bismarck received the National Federation of High Schools "Citation" in 1976 as the first North Dakota Athletic Director to be recognized nationally. In 1982, the NIAAA recognized Harold Pederson, Athletic Administrator from Fargo with the Distinguished Service Award. Several other NDIAAA members have received these awards and the list is found on the Awards tab on this website.
In 1997, the North Dakota Athletic Directors Association was reorganized into the North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NDIAAA). The reorganization resulted in a new constitution and by-laws as well as a new board of directors structure, which is the current operational plan used today. A committee structure was created and the numerous awards were added over time. The Athletic Director of the Year award was divided into two categories, Class A and B. The State Award of Merit was added to the annual recognitions and the inaugural class of the NDIAAA was recognized in 1998. Two major meetings were identified that the NDIAAA would sponsor. The first in September (Fall Workshop) was developed to help new AD's through quality orientation. This meeting grew from a new AD workshop to a professional development workshop for all members. The second major meeting is the Spring Conference which has two major objectives, the first is to honor/recognize outstanding members with awards and the second is to provide high quality professional development opportunities.
In the Fall of 2004, Darryl Anderson, retired Athletic Administrator from Mandan was named the first Executive Director for the NDIAAA. A position he held until 2010 when he retired. Ed Lockwood, retired Athletic Administrator from Fargo assumed the position in 2010. During Darryl's tenure as Executive Director the NDIAAA developed a comprehensive five year strategic plan. The organization is nearing the end of this plan and will embark on the second strategic plan. One of the major goals was to increase membership both on the state and national level. The NDIAAA membership voted in 2010 to become dual members. The organization has grown in members every year since 2004. A second major goal was to identify partnerships and sponsorships that would support the NDIAAA. The organization currently has two major partnerships, the ND High School Activities Association and Sanford Health. They also have four corporate sponsors, Univeral Athletics, Daktronics, All-American Publishing and Recruiting Webinar.