The executive director of the Illinois High School Association says he plans to retire in January 2016.

Marty Hickman said in a news release on Tuesday that he plans to step down after serving as executive director of the IHSA since 2001. THE IHSA oversees high school sports in Illinois.

Hickman said he decided a while ago to retire. He is the association's sixth executive director and took over from Dave Fry.

The IHSA said Hickman's tenure included strong growth in sports participation and the addition of state competitions in activities including boys bowling, cheerleading , dance, water polo and bass fishing.

The IHSA board said it will announce a timeline for hiring Hickman's replacement at a future board meeting, but offered no specifics.