CINCINNATI — Steve Shuck has been synonymous with the Greater Miami Conference for decades, so there was plenty of emotion Tuesday when Shuck informed the GMC athletic directors he will step down as conference commissioner after 26 consecutive years.
"They gave me the opportunity to spend 26 more years working with high school sports and I'm extremely grateful to have had that opportunity," Shuck said. "To me, it's what it's all about. They gave me an opportunity. I think I did well enough for them."
Shuck, a former longtime Princeton High School assistant athletic director, coach and physical education teacher, has 56 consecutive years of dedicated service to the GMC which started in 1966. He said he plans to continue in his oversight role of the conference junior high schools.
"He's been really the foundation of this league," said Fairfield athletic director Aaron Blankenship, who serves as the GMC president. "When you think of the GMC you think of Mr. Shuck — one of the kindest, nicest human beings I've ever come across."
Shuck, 86, had numerous duties in his role as the GMC commissioner since 1996.
"Everything he did was make the conference better or to promote the conference," GMC associate commissioner Stu Eversole said. "What a gentleman he was. What a great ambassador."
Shuck oversaw the expansion of the conference from six schools to the current 10 members.
In addition to numerous individual and state championships, Shuck oversaw the addition of six varsity sports including boys volleyball, girls golf, boys and girls bowling and boys and girls lacrosse.
"A man of utmost integrity, Steve Shuck has been the perfect ambassador for the Greater Miami Conference as he proudly represented the GMC throughout Ohio," the conference wrote in a statement. "His sincerity of effort and sense of ownership will be genuinely missed. Without question, his commitment to the Greater Miami Conference represents a special bond that will be difficult to replace."
Shuck assigned officials, helped with scheduling games and events, evaluated athletics facilities, distributed awards, worked on the conference calendar along answering phone calls and emails to troubleshoot solutions across the 10-member public school conference.
"Steve has been the heart and soul of the GMC for nearly 30 years," Lakota West athletic director Scott Kaufman said. "He helped young athletic directors learn about things that matter about being a strong conference in Ohio. He is so well-respected by the entire athletic community; he will certainly be missed. He is a dear friend and I would not be where I am if not for his leadership, mentorship — a true role model for everything good in high school sports."
With an uncanny attention to detail, superb organizational skills and vision, Shuck solidified the GMC as one of Ohio’s strongest and most balanced conferences.
"He was a true, true fan of the league," Blankenship said.
Shuck said he was most proud that the conference always operated with an objective to handle duties with class.
"That we treat people the way we want to be treated," Shuck said. "If we didn't, we speak to it and try to make a change."
Shuck was also known in Southwest Ohio for his popular high school playoff projections, also known as 'Shuck's Projections,' a publication he started in 1996 and managed for 25 years.
Shuck's respect from Southwest Ohio coaches and athletic administrators was exemplified during Tuesday's GMC meeting. He met Hamilton football coach and assistant athletic director Arvie Crouch for the first time after the meeting.
"He said, 'I know I haven't been around you long but there is something I want to share with you,'" Shuck recalled Crouch saying. "He says, 'I just want you to know how highly respected you are in the entire Cincinnati sports community in every league I've been around. People know who you are and what you do.' And I said, 'No one could've said anything nicer to me.'"