NICA looks for new president as McInerny departs

Since 2012, McInerny has guided the explosive growth of the high school mountain bike association.

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is on the hunt for a new leader.

Austin McInerny, NICA’s longtime president, plans to step down from his post later this year, creating a vacancy for one of the most influential spots in American cycling. In 2018 NICA saw 18,500 high school and 7,000 middle school riders compete in 25 different leagues, spread across 24 U.S. states. The growth comes just nine years after the league was officially founded as a nationwide organization, and seven years after McInerny became its president.

McInerny told VeloNews that the time was right for him to transition out of the role. The decision to step away from NICA was his.

“We have a solid operating budget and a really good strategic plan. It’s a good time to start looking for [a new president],” McInerny said. “The whole thing is starting to get out of my wheelhouse. We need someone with a strong non-profit background.”

McInerny will end his full-time role with NICA after a replacement is hired. The league did not provide a timeline for the hire, other than to say it had begun the search for a new president. The 2019 spring competition schedule starts in February.

A former environmental mediator, McInerny has been involved with NICA and its predecessor entities for the last 16 years. NICA traces its roots back to the NorCal high school mountain bike league, which grew out of the cycling club at Berkeley High School. A Berkeley area mountain biker, McInerny joined the Berkeley in 2003 as an assistant coach, just two seasons after the team was founded. He became the team’s head coach in 2004 after team founder Matt Fritzinger took on managerial responsibilities of the NorCal league.

McInerny became NICA’s executive director in 2012 following the departure of its previous leader, Doug Selee. Under his leadership the league expanded from 2,000 athletes to more than 25,000. The league office also grew from four full-time in 2012 employees to 23 today.

McInerny said he plans to remain involved with NICA as a consultant.

“I’ll probably take a month off, check out, and ride bikes,” he said.