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Robert Zayas takes charge

New executive director learns job as he settles in to unfamiliar territory

New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Robert Zayas is looking to implement some of the changes he brought to the New Mexico Activities Association to his new post.

New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Robert Zayas is looking to implement some of the changes he brought to the New Mexico Activities Association to his new post. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— “I would hope the economic climate (of New York) would turn itself around so as not to be a threat to the sports community,” said Van Erk.

To address the travel cost issue, Zayas said he will look at where state tournaments are held and consider centrally-located alternatives if there needs to be a change of venue.

“That (meeting travel costs) is always a concern,” said Zayas. “What we want to do is ease those concerns as much as possible.”

Zayas is also interested in making the 36 regional and state tournaments NYSPHSAA runs better across the board.

“One thing is you want the girls field hockey tournament to be treated the same way as the state basketball tournament,” said Zayas. “You want everyone in every sport to feel like they’re being treated well.”

Another item Zayas said he wants to address early in his tenure is NYSPHSAA’s website. He said the current site needs an upgrade – one that includes more statewide sports news and the capability for webcasting state tournaments.

“I want New York to be one of the more technologically-advanced states in the country,” said Zayas. “That’s what I want to do over the next three years.”

Young said Zayas’ work on the NMAA website helped increase traffic.

“I don’t have the figures (number of page hits) for the old site, but within the first year of the new site (2005), we probably had about 600,000 visitors,” said Young. “Since then we’ve seen a steady increase, and it was probably around 1.3 million visitors last year.”

As Zayas looks to implement his changes, he said he’s aware there will be a learning curve for him as he becomes acclimated to New York high school sports.

“With me being so new to the state … I think it will take me a few months to fully understand all of the various challenges,” said Zayas.

Young said he believes Zayas will meet the challenges of running NYSPHSAA.

“He’s going to be a great leader,” said Young. “He’s always been someone the (NMAA) staff looked up to as being someone who always knew what was best for the state and its athletes.”

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