The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) honored Darren Pannier, State Fair Community College athletic director, with the George E. Killian Award of Excellence. The award was presented April 6 at the NJCAA awards dinner in Reno, Nevada.

Chris Bartkowski

The NJCAA’s national office staff annually recognizes individuals dedicated to the organization’s ideals of volunteerism, achievement, service, leadership, and excellence, according to a release on the NJCAA website.

“I was very surprised that I was selected to receive such a prestigious award,” said Pannier. “It was humbling to receive this award from a first-class organization like the NJCAA."

Killian was one of the most influential leaders in the history of the association. He served as the ninth NJCAA president from 1967-69 and was then hired by its board of directors as the first NJCAA executive director in 1969. Killian led the organization to many triumphs, including the establishment of the association's women's division in 1975. During his tenure, the NJCAA flourished from a basketball-centered organization to the second-largest intercollegiate athletic association in the country.

After 35 years of leadership and service, Killian retired from the NJCAA in 2004.
Pannier is in his 17th year as SFCC’s athletic director. For the 2016-2017 academic year, he assisted with the addition of four sports to the athletic department—women’s soccer, softball, and the restart of men’s soccer and baseball.

Pannier is actively involved with the NJCAA regionally and nationally. He serves on three NJCAA standing committees and was appointed chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. Pannier is the co-chair of the Service and Recognition Committee and a member of the Sports Districting Committee for Division I.

He serves as the Women's Division Region 16 director, as the Missouri Community College Athletic Conference vice president and on other committees within the conference.

Pannier is a member of West Central Missouri Boys and Girls Club board of directors and serves on committees at the Sedalia Country Club. Annually, Pannier presents the Darla Pannier Most Valuable Player award at the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association women’s all-star game.

David Rohrbach, SFCC Athletics

In the photo: Darren Pannier (right), State Fair Community College’s athletic director, received the George E. Killian Award of Excellence April 6 from the National Junior College Athletic Association in Reno, Nevada. Presenting the award is Mick McDaniel, NJCAA Board of Directors first vice president.