Terrebonne High athletic director Joe Clement has earned many prestigious achievements this year.

Terrebonne High athletic director Joe Clement has earned many prestigious achievements this year.

In April, he became the president of the Louisiana High School Athletic Directors Association (LHSADA).

Clement, a native of Gonzales, received another honor when he was recognized by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) as a Certified Athletic Administrator on Sept. 1.

Clement, who has spent the last 18 of his 35 years as a teacher and coach at Terrebonne, joined a small fraternity of elite national athletic directors with his latest honor. He is the first athletic director from Terrebonne Parish to become nationally certified.

Clement said there are less than 50 nationally Certified Athletic Administrators in Louisiana. Clement said nationwide the NIAAA mostly caters to college athletic directors and there are less than 4,700 nationally certified across the country.

“I don't want to pat my own self on the back, but there's not a lot of people that got this achievement,” Clement said. “It's a big honor.”

Clement, 57, said it was a long process to become nationally certified. He had to take leadership training classes and pass a comprehensive written examination at the end. The voluntary certification process included a thorough evaluation of the candidate's educational background, experience and professional contributions.

In the last six years, Clement said he has become more active in the LHSADA, serving as a vice-president previously before becoming president this year.

During that time, Clement said he was inspired to become a nationally certified athletic director.

“A lot of the presidents before me had national certifications, and I actually put it on myself that this is something I needed to achieve,” Clement said. “If I was going to be president, I wanted to get my national certification. That was one of the driving forces. I feel really complete. I just felt it was something that I needed to do.”

Clement said becoming nationally certified was a rigorous process, but he learned many new ways to improve as an athletic director. He said some of the major topics during the courses focused on liability, planning and Title IX compliance.

“Once I started taking the leadership training courses, it was very educational, and it was very beneficial to my job,” Clement said. “I got great ideas from networking with athletic directors from across the country. In our online courses, I would network from people from Arizona and California. While we were online, we talked about possible solutions to problems. It was an eye-opening experience.”

Now that he is certified, Clement said he wants to help other local and state athletic directors join the NIAAA.

Clement, who also serves as an assistant football coach at Terrebonne, said athletic directors have many important duties with their schools. They oversee budgeting and make sure their athletic departments are in compliance with LHSAA eligibility rules.

Although it is a time-consuming job, Clement said he has enjoyed his time as Terrebonne's athletic director.

“It's really a job of itself. You could really stay busy 24/7 if you wanted to,” Clement said. “A lot of states require athletic directors to do just AD work. I love coaching too much. I hope Louisiana never goes to that. I love being the AD, but I also love when I could put my pencil down, step out the office, grab my hat and whistle and go out to practice.”

Terrebonne head football coach Gary Hill said working with a nationally certified athletic director like Clement is a huge benefit for the program.

“It's a great accomplishment for him,” Hill said. “He's a great asset to have at our school. With his experience and knowledge of LHSAA rules and national issues, it gives all of our athletes somebody to rely on to make sure that everybody is treated fairly and appropriately. I think it's an excellent example to show our student athletes that you should never stop learning and keep trying to improve yourself in education. It's a great example for our kids to see and try to follow.”