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Patricia "Trish" Highland

Inducted 2008

Trish Highland's vision and energy have propelled Orange County's athletic programs to a highly visible leadership role in the FHSAA membership.

She began her athletic career as a student-athlete at Rochelle Township High School in Rochelle, Ill., and went on to play tennis, volleyball, basketball and field hockey at Quincy College in Quincy, Ill. from 1966-1971. Upon moving to Florida, Highland’s career took her to the old Ocoee High School, where she coached tennis, basketball, volleyball, and softball, and acted as athletic director. She then served as athletic director at West Orange High School in Winter Garden until 1989.

Highland became the assistant athletic director for Orange County Public Schools, and then county athletic director in 1996. She currently serves as senior athletic director and anticipates her retirement in June 2008. As county athletic director, she supervised middle and high school athletics in the fifth largest school district in the state. Since 1985, Orange County has hosted numerous FHSAA state series events, as well as FHSAA Finals state championship events in track & field, swimming & diving, boys volleyball, bowling, football and tennis. The county has also sponsored emerging sports such as boys volleyball, flag football, water polo, bowling and lacrosse before their status as FHSAA recognized sports. Highland has supervised and directed the OCPS Special Olympics and Disabled Sports Team since 1989.

She is an advocate for coaching education and has encouraged state and national associations to implement online education courses, as well as serving as a speaker for the Spirit of Golf Foundation. Highland has been a member of several FHSAA committees, including the Athletic Directors Advisory Committee and the recent Handbook Revision Task Force committee. She has been a board member of the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association since 1998 and served as president in 2003. Highland was named FIAAA co-chair for the 2005 NIAAA National Conference in Orlando.

Highland has received the Distinguished Service Award from the FHSAA and the Meritorious Service Award from the Florida Athletic Coaches Association and the FIAAA. She was awarded the FIAAA State Award of Merit in 2004 and was honored by the Spirit of Golf Foundation with its Spirit Award in 2006.