Skaggs takes over as OVAC?president

The Ohio Valley Athletic Conference runs like a well-oiled machine because of its Executive Board and event directors.

St. Clairsville Superintendent and Principal Walt Skaggs is planning to have that continue as he ascends to the role of OVAC President for the next two school years.

“I have some big shoes to fill because (the OVAC) had some outstanding presidents in the past,” Skaggs said. “I am going to do everything I can to continue the tradition that’s been in that position before me.”

Skaggs is extremely active in athletics both at the local and state level. He’s served on the OVAC Executive Board since 2007. He’s also been the president of the Buckeye 8 Athletic League.

“Since I’ve come on board with the OVAC, we’ve grown in the number of schools to 50, and I believe our championship and all-star events are second to none. It’s great the student-athletes of the Ohio Valley had the opportunities that they do to showcase their talents.”

He worked with the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors for the 2009-10 school year and is in his second term on the Eastern District Board and just took over as its president this school year as well.

As president of the OVAC, Skaggs will work hand-in-hand with Executive Secretary Tom Rataiczak, which is one aspect Skaggs is looking forward to the most.

“It’s a privlege to be able to work closer with Tom,” Skaggs said. “It’s kind of like a school board. Tom is the superintendent of the school, and I am president of the board.”

Skaggs, who is a Shadyside High School graduate and has worked at St. Clairsville for 17 years, wants the OVAC to continue to work to maintain what it’s already built and add to it.

“We need to continue the excellence that’s been set down already,” Skaggs said. “Throughout the history of the conference, we’ve proven that this is the best high school conference in the country, and I want to continue that. I know Tom doesn’t let the paint dry and we’ll continue to work toward goals and achieve those.”

As for his role with the Eastern District, Skaggs took over on Aug. 1 and will maintain similar responsibility of working with the board and member schools toward the tournaments and happenings at the state level.

One big change is forthcoming in winter sports for this school year, according to Skaggs. The Eastern District has elected to go to a “super sectional” in the sports of boys and girls basketball as well as wrestling.

“This is a pilot thing to see how it goes and it could be implemented in other sports if it goes well,” Skaggs admitted.

The sectional assignments will no longer be assigned prior to the tournament. All of the teams in one division will head for a seed meeting and then the seeding and bracketing will allow the coaches to go to a site. The sites haven’t been finalized yet.

“The coaches associations came to us and asked us to take a look at it, so I put together a survey and sent it to all of the coaches and athletic directors in the district,” Skaggs said. “We got the data back and based on percentages, it looked like the coaches wanted to give it a try.”

The other sports are expected to remain the same for the spring and changes could come in 2014-15.

Staskey can be reached at