Pettit, Ecker and Cerqueira To Be Honored By Basketball Coaches’ Group

(3-24-23) School administrators Chip Pettit of Chesterton, Brandon Ecker of Mt. Vernon (Fortville) and Jeff Cerqueira of Floyd Central will be recognized with special awards for 2023 from the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association.

Chip Pettit of Chesterton, Brandon Ecker of Mt. Vernon (Fortville) and Jeff Cerqueira of Floyd Central

The three administrators — Pettit is superintendent of the Duneland School Corporation, Ecker is athletic director at Mt. Vernon and Cerqueira is athletic director at Floyd Central — will be honored as Administrators of the Year from the IBCA. Each is being recognized for his support of programs in his school or school corporation. There is one winner from each IHSAA district. Pettit is the honoree from District 1. Ecker is cited from District 2. Cerqueira is the recipient from District 3.

This is the 15th time in the past 16 years that the IBCA has recognized a group of administrators with a set of awards. The awards have been presented since 2008, but the 2020 honorees received their awards in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. No winners were named in 2021. A list of winners from over the years is at the bottom of this announcement.

Pettit, Ecker and Cerqueira will receive their awards on April 20 during the 2023 IBCA Clinic at Mt. Vernon High School in Fortville. For more information about the IBCA, go to

2023 IBCA Administrators of the Year

District 1
Jack S. “Chip” Pettit, superintendent, Duneland School Corp., Chesterton

Jack S. “Chip” Pettit is in his fourth year as superintendent of the Duneland School Corporation in Chesterton, where he oversees five elementary schools, two intermediate schools, one middle school, one high school and one virtual academy. He brings a positive attitude as well as a strong athletic background to the position while dealing with students, teachers, coaches, school administrators and community members.

Pettit, previously a principal from 2012-19 at Crown Point High School, has been recognized for his leadership with awards as Principal of the Year from the Indiana High School Press Association in 2017 and the Indiana Association of School Principals, District 1, in 2019. In addition, Crown Point was rated the state’s best public high school in 2013.

A lifelong resident of northwest Indiana, Pettit is a 1992 graduate of Crown Point High School, where he earned nine varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball en route to being honored as Indiana’s inaugural Mr. Baseball and the 1992 overall Athlete of the Year by The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Pettit matriculated to Valparaiso University, earning a bachelor’s degree in history in 1996 and starring for the VU baseball team. He was voted all-Mid-Continent Conference as a pitcher in 1995 and 1996. He later earned a educational specialist degree from Ball State in 2016 and a doctorate in educational leadership from Ball State in 2019.

Pettit began his career in education as a social studies teacher at Taft Middle School in Crown Point from 1997-99, also serving as a CPHS football assistant coach, the CPHS junior varsity basketball coach and the VU pitching coach during those two years. He moved to Wheeler High School from 1999-2001, working as a social studies teacher and as the school’s inaugural varsity football coach – building the program from scratch with no varsity team the first year and posting a 5-6 varsity record in 2000.

He returned to Crown Point High School in 2001, serving11 years as a social studies teacher, dean of students, assistant principal and the Bulldogs’ varsity football coach. His teams posted a 72-51 record during his tenure a varsity coach, highlighted by two undefeated regular seasons (2005 and 2006), three Duneland Conference championships (2005, 2006 and 2007) and two sectional championships (2006 and 2011).

As a coach, Pettit was named the Region 1 Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2005 by the Indiana Football Coaches Association, the Indianapolis Colts Coach of the Year in 2005, the Gary Post-Tribune area Coach of the Year in 2005 and The Times of Northwest Indiana area Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2006.

Pettit was promoted to CPHS principal in 2012 and served in that role for seven years before moving to the Duneland School Corporation as superintendent. There, he works with a mission to “inspire, engage and empower” students each day. He enjoys fishing and golf in his free time.
Pettit and his wife, Karin, have two children – Will, 21, and Avery, 18.

District 2
Brandon Ecker, Athletic Director, Mt. Vernon (Fortville)

Brandon Ecker is in his eighth year as athletic director at Mt. Vernon High School, bringing a well-organized and enthusiastic approach to his job on a daily basis.

Ecker began his career in education as a social studies teacher at Union County High School in 2004-05. He moved to Richmond High School as a teacher for the next three years, also serving as an athletics supervisor at nearby Centerville High School in 2007-08. Ecker followed by serving as a teacher and assistant athletic director at Shelbyville High School from 2008-12.

Ecker served as athletic director at New Castle High School from 2012-15 before accepting his current position at Mt. Vernon in Fortville.

A 2000 graduate of Centerville, Ecker competed in tennis, wrestling and baseball while in high school. He was a two-time Tri-Eastern Conference champion and was named second-team all-state in singles for tennis teams that claimed two sectional and two regional championships. He also was a regional qualifier in wrestling.

He then went on to Huntington University, where he played tennis for a Foresters’ program that won the 2000-01 Mid-Central Conference championship, qualified for the NAIA national tournament and won an Academic All-American Team Award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Huntington in 2004 and later earned master’s degree in education from Western Kentucky in 2013.

Ecker was recognized with the Charles F. Mass Distinguished Service Award for District IV from the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association in 2019 and was named IIAAA Athletic Director of the Year for District IV in 2021.

Ecker and his wife, Brandy, have been married for 12 years. He has a stepson, Bryndan, 15; and a daughter, Blaikely, 9. He enjoys watching his children in their activities and traveling whenever the family gets a chance to do so.

District 3
Jeff Cerqueira, Athletic Director, Floyd Central

Jeff Cerqueira is completing his 12th year as athletic director at Floyd Central High School, where he is highly regarded for his organization and the well-rounded program that his alma mater fields.

Cerqueira began his career in education in 1990 at Scottsburg High School, where he was a math teacher and an assistant coach in basketball and baseball. He moved to Floyd Central as junior high math teacher from 1993-98, serving as a high school assistant coach in football, basketball and baseball for four years and as the Highlanders’ varsity baseball coach in 1998.

He then became an assistant principal at Charlestown Middle School for 13 years before returning to Floyd Central as high school athletic director and assistant principal in 2011.

A 1985 graduate of Floyd Central, Cerqueira was named all-Hoosier Hills Conference in football, basketball and baseball. He played basketball for Joe Hinton and was a part of Highlanders’ teams that won three sectionals and two regionals. He also was a standout in baseball, setting FC school records for hits, runs scores and RBI.

Cerqueira went on to Indiana State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in math. While at ISU, he was a catcher in baseball for the Sycamores, competing on Bob Warn-coached teams that played in 1986 NCAA College World Seires and finished as runner-up in the 1989 NCAA South Regional.

He later earned a master’s degree in administration from Indiana University-Southeast in 1994.

Cerqueira enjoys playing golf and collecting sports memorabilia when he has free time.

He and his wife, Michelle, have two children – Schyler, 26, and Braxton, 23..

IBCA Administrator of the Year Honorees

The IBCA began presenting an Administrator of the Year Award in 2008.
Here is a list of winners of the award from 2008-present:

            2008 -- District 1: Michael Pettibone, superintendent, Adams Central Community Schools. District 2: Jerry Holifield, superintendent, Plainfield Community School Corp. District 3: Kendall Wildey, principal, Jennings County High School.

            2009 -- District 1: Garry Nallenweg, athletic director, Chesterton High School. District 2: Kevin Horrigan, athletic director, Greenfield-Central High School; Phil Waddell, athletic director, Hamilton Heights High School. District 3: Gary Cook, principal, North Decatur High School.

            2010 -- District 1: Larry "Jake" Jackowiak, assistant superintendent, Concord Community Schools. District 2: Mike Huey, athletic director, New Palestine High School. District 3: James Babcock, former athletic director, assistant principal and principal, Paoli High School.

            2011 -- District 1: Janis Qualizza, athletic director, Merrillville High School. District 2: Mike Necessary, superintendent, Randolph Southern School Corp.; Kevin Stephenson, athletic director, Beech Grove High School. District 3: Brad Lindsay, superintendent, Mooresville Consolidated School Corp.

            2012 -- District 1: Michael Smith, athletic director/assistant principal, Munster High School. District 2: Grant Nesbit, athletic director, Lawrence North High School; Jim Zeller, assistant athletic director, Lawrence North High School. District 3: Paul Neidig, athletic director, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp.; Jerrill Vandeventer, superintendent, Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools.

            2013 -- District 1: Don Gandy, principal, Wheeler High School. District 2: Wayne Barker, superintendent, Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District. District 3: Don Unruh, athletic director, New Albany High School.

            2014 -- District 1: Robert Falls, athletic director, Michigan City High School; Geoff Penrod, athletic director, Columbia City High School. District 2: Chad Bolser, athletic director, Richmond High School; Phil Ford, principal, Jay County High School. District 3: Mike Whitten, principal, Boonville High School.

            2015 -- District 1: Debb Stevens, athletic director, Caston Junior-Senior High School. District 2: Troy Inman, principal, Pike High School; Dave Worland, principal, Cathedral High School. District 3: Brett Bardwell, athletic director, Southridge High School; Jeff Hester, athletic director, Columbus North High School.

            2016 -- District 1: Ed Gilliland, athletic director, LaPorte High School. District 2: Mel Seifert, principal, Plainfield High School. District 3: Rob Moorhead, superintendent, South Ripley Community School Corp.

            2017 -- District 1: Patti McCormack, athletic director, Lowell High School. District 2: Chuck Weisenbach, principal, Roncalli High School. District 3: Ron McBride, athletic director, Bloomfield Junior-Senior High School.

            2018 -- District 1: Jane Allen, superintendent, Middlebury Community Schools. District 2: Steve Cox, director of transportation, Beech Grove City Schools. District 3: Steve Killian, athletic director, Wood Memorial High School.

            2019 -- District 1: Nathan Dean, athletic director, Jimtown High School. District 2: John Clark, athletic director, Ben Davis High School. District 3: Jeff Doyle, principal, Barr-Reeve High School.

            2020 -- District 1: Stacy Adams, athletic director, Valparaiso High School. District 2: Shane Osting, athletic director, New Castle High School. District 3: Tim Grove, superintendent, South Knox School Corp.

            2021 -- no winners named (winners from 2020 honored in 2021 because of COVID-19 pandemic).

            2022 -- District 1: Garland Hudson II, athletic director, South Bend Washington High School. District 2: Pat Mapes, superintendent, Perry Township Schools. District 3: Tom Black, principal, East Central High School.

            2023 -- District 1: Jack S. "Chip" Pettit, superintendent, Duneland School Corp. District 2: Brandon Ecker, athletic director, Mt. Vernon (Fortville) High School. District 3: Jeff Cerqueira, athletic director, Floyd Central High School.