Blake Ress started his role as the organization’s seventh commissioner on July 1, 2000. He had served the IHSAA as an assistant commissioner from 1995-2000, with his responsibilities including the administration of football, wrestling, boys and girls swimming and diving, and softball. He also played a key role in identifying emerging technology issues and was instrumental in the establishment of an IHSAA website that has become a key communications tool for the organization.
Ress has served in interscholastic athletics and educational administration for 41 years. During his career in education, he has served as a coach in football, basketball and swimming, as a game official in baseball, basketball, and swimming and diving, as an athletic director, as a high school principal, and as chairman of the IHSAA Executive Committee. He was elected to the IHSAA Board of Directors in 1990 while principal at Martinsville, serving as chairman of the IHSAA Executive Committee in 1993-94.
Ress was honored as the Midwest Athletic Director of the Year in 1986 by the National Council of Athletic Directors. He was chosen as the Indiana Athletic Director of the Year in 1981 and again in 1985 by the National Council of Athletic Directors. In 1992, he was honored as the District 9 Principal of the Year by the Indiana Association of School Principals.
Ress served as meet director of the IHSAA Girls Swimming and Diving State Finals from 1987-94, assistant meet director for the IHSAA Wrestling Finals from 1984-94, and as a member of the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association board of directors from 1980-85.
Ress began his IHSAA officiating career in basketball while a student at Butler University. While coaching at Columbus and Shelbyville, he added football, swimming, track and field, and baseball to his officiating assignments. He earned tournament assignments in baseball, basketball, and swimming, umpiring the 1973 IHSAA Baseball state finals. Ress served as president of the Southeastern Indiana Officials Association in 1973 and 1974.
Ress began his career as an educator in 1964 as a biology teacher and coach at Northside Junior High School in Columbus. He was the assistant boys swimming coach at Columbus High School from 1964-68, helping the Bull Dogs to the 1965 IHSAA championship.
From Columbus, Ress moved to Shelbyville High School where he was an assistant football coach for six years and the boys swimming coach from 1970-73. In 1974, he was named assistant principal and athletic director at Shelbyville, a post that he held for 11 years before becoming principal at Cloverdale High School. Ress served at Cloverdale for one year before moving to Martinsville High School to become principal there in 1986. He stayed in that position at Martinsville until 1995 when he joined the IHSAA staff as an assistant commissioner.
Ress is a Tell City, Indiana, native who earned a B.S. degree in education from Butler, a master’s degree in secondary education from Indiana University and an Education Specialist also from Butler. At Tell City, Ress played football, basketball, and baseball. In basketball, he played for Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer Gunner Wyman. He was a member of Tell City’s Evansville Semi-State runner-up team in 1960.
He and his wife, Linda, a career educator, have been married for 40 years. They have three children and four grandchildren.