Given to just eight athletic administrators nationwide, Garland ISD Executive Director of Athletics Cliff Odenwald was recently named a 2018 recipient of the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Citation Award. He is just the 12th person from Texas to ever receive this honor. It is reserved for individuals who demonstrate an impact on the field as a whole, and according to Odenwald’s bio, he definitely fits the bill.
Odenwald first joined GISD in 1988, and following his tenure as head football coach at Naaman Forest High School, he was promoted to assistant athletic director in 1993. Odenwald then accepted Plano ISD’s athletic director position in 2003 where he became active with the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association, ultimately becoming its president. In 2007, Odenwald accepted UIL’s assistant athletic director position, and two years later, he was promoted to athletic director. There, he impacted Texas high school sports through state legislation, policy decisions and rules enforcement for both coaches and teams.
Realizing that he missed working directly with those coaches and teams, Odenwald returned to GISD in 2011 and served as athletic director until being named Executive Director of Athletics in 2018. Under his leadership, GISD sports underwent significant enhancements, such as adding B teams to middle school boys and girls basketball; starting middle school soccer programs; renovating or adding tracks at every high school and Williams Stadium; adding turf fields to all high schools; renovating the press box and restructuring the field at HBJ Stadium; updating weight rooms and equipment at all high schools and 12 middle schools; and updating baseball and softball fields with new concessions, bathrooms and ticketing facilities.
Odenwald will be honored by the National Federation of State High School Associations for his Citation Award in December. He was also recognized by the Garland ISD Board of Trustees with an Evidence of Excellence award this fall.
“I am humbled and honored,” he said during the board meeting. “I have been so blessed to have amazing staff members who make me look really good. It’s our award. It’s about the team and the support that you’ve given the athletic department and the kids of GISD, as well as the progress that we’ve made.”