Twenty-six years ago, Lisa Lissimore was a rookie associate director with the Minnesota State High School League who was trying to get acclimated to her new job.
One of her first major projects was overseeing the state softball tournament which, back then, was a two-class tournament held on dual sites at Foley and St. Cloud. She admits there were some overwhelming moments when she first started.
"That was definitely a learning experience," Lissimore said. "I remember Executive Director Dave Stead went with me to all the events, making sure I was doing the right things and asking and answering the right questions."
Today, Lissimore is still the tournament director for state softball. She has put together 14-member staff (not including umpires), most of whom return every year, which helps make the two-day event at North Mankato's Caswell Park one of the most well-run tournaments of the school year.
"It gets easier, especially when you have a lot of the same people back to help you year in and year out," she said. "A lot of my time now is just spent trouble-shooting the small things that come up."
Lissimore is a graduate of Grand View University in Des Moines. She took a part-time job with the Minnesota legislature out of college and that led to a full-time position which she held for six years.
In 1987-88 she was appointed to the MSHSL Board of Directors and, the following year she left the legislature to become an MSHSL staff member as an associate director.
"I guess I was always looking for something that would combine my love of sports with my love of writing," Lissimore said. "I thought this job might lead to a sports writing job but, as you know, sometimes life takes you in a different direction than planned."