The California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section (CIF-SS) is the governing body for high school athletics in most of Southern California and is the largest of the ten sections that comprise the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). Its membership includes most public and private high schools in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, and central and southern Santa Barbara counties. Teams from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and surrounding areas have competed in the CIF Los Angeles City Section since 1935. CIFSS's offices are located in Los Alamitos.

CIF Southern Section
TypeNon-profit organization
Legal statusAssociation
Headquarters10932 Pine Street (Los Alamitos, California)
Region served
Southern California
Mike West
Main organ
California Interscholastic Federation

Founded in 1913, the CIF Southern Section includes over 560 member public and private high schools and is by far the largest CIF section. Three of the ten CIF sections are individual current or former public school districts (Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland). The Southern Section's membership includes all private schools located within the service area of the LAUSD, which includes almost all of the city of Los Angeles plus some adjacent areas outside the city limits. If the CIF Southern Section were a state association, it would be the 10th largest in the United States.[citation needed]

For its first year of operation, the organization was called the Southern California Interscholastic Athletic Council (SCIAC). That acronym was taken over by the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 1915 after the Southern Section name was established. CIF was officially formed in 1914 and became statewide in 1917.[1] The service area was larger, encompassing what is now the CIF Los Angeles City Section, which broke off in 1935, and the CIF San Diego Section which broke off in 1960. Imperial County was once part of the section as well, but broke off in 2000 to join the San Diego Section.[2] At various points in time, schools in Arizona, Nevada,[3] and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico,[4] were part of the section.[1]


CIFSS 100th Anniversary Logo
  • Seth F. Van Patten (1913-1951)
  • William W. Russell (1951-1954)
  • J. Kenneth Fagans (1954-1975)
  • Thomas E. Byrnes (1975-1980)
  • Ray J. Plutko (1980-1986)
  • Stan Thomas (1986-1993)
  • Dean Crowley (1993-1999)
  • James Staunton, Ed.D. (1999-2011)
  • Rob Wigod (2011-2023)
  • Mike West (2023–present)[5]


Collage of CIFSS sports

The Southern Section was the outgrowth of a track and field meet. The Southern Section was founded on March 29, 1913, when a group of high school officials joined forces to conduct a track championship meet. Seth F. Van Patten, who served as Track Manager for the Southern Section in 1913 and is recognized as the founding father of the CIF-SS, served in that post until 1928 when he was officially named Secretary of the organization. He served as Commissioner until his retirement in 1951. On March 28, 1914, the Southern Section came under the administrative wing of the newly founded California Interscholastic Federation, and has since grown into one of the most progressive and respected organizations of its kind in the world. CIF-SS archives date back over 100 years! Despite its lengthy history, the Southern Section lists just 10 Commissioners (the term Secretary dropped) with William Russell holding the post from 1951 to 1954, J. Kenneth Fagans being the administrative head from 1954 until his retirement in early 1975, Thomas E. Byrnes accepting the Commissioner's post in 1975, while Ray Plutko served from 1980 to 1986. Stan Thomas served as Commissioner from July, 1986 to October, 1993 when Dean Crowley was appointed Acting Commissioner and was Commissioner of Athletics from July, 1994 until his retirement in September, 1999. James Staunton Ed.D., served as Commissioner from September 1, 1999, until his retirement on July 31, 2011. Rob Wigod began his service as Commissioner on August 1, 2011, after having served as Assistant Commissioner for 11 years, before retiring on August 1, 2023.

CIF SS Headquarters in Los Alamitos, California

The “home” of the Southern Section has a varied history. At the outset, basements, surplus school rooms and even the homes of secretaries served as the official office. South Pasadena High School graciously permitted the use of one of its rooms during the 1930s, with Oneonta School and South Pasadena High School serving as the home office from 1942 until 1949. There was a period of time the office was in the home of Commissioner Seth Van Patten. Still without an official office, the Southern Section moved its supplies to Helms Hall, a bakery in Culver City in 1949 and remained at the Venice Blvd. site until 1959.[1] It was in February of that year that the Southern Section built its first ever administration office, located on the corners of Carmona and West Washington in Los Angeles. As membership grew and the Sections’ population center moved, so did the CIF-SS office. In 1965, the Section office built and moved into its third home and second devoted strictly to the CIF-SS day-to-day operations. That space was located next to Gahr High School on Artesia Blvd. in the city of Cerritos. That remained the home base of the section until October 2003 when the ever-expanding membership required a larger facility. Thus, the new and current administrative home became the Pine Street location in Los Alamitos.

Historical news clippings of CIFSS sports

The California Interscholastic Federation, Southern Section, is a non-profit corporation organized to direct and control both boys and girls athletics in the secondary schools within the Section. The Southern Section is administered on a day-to-day basis by the Commissioner, five Assistant Commissioners, a chief Financial Officer, a Marketing Manager and a staff of eight support personnel. The Southern Section is not only the oldest, but the largest of 10 such sections in the state—its membership has grown from an original 30 schools to over 560+ schools and from 5 leagues to almost 90 leagues.



CIF-SS sponsors the following sports:





  1. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2014-09-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "CIF History — Sports on the Side". Archived from the original on 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2014-09-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2014-09-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Sondheimer, Eric. "Mike West selected as replacement for Rob Wigod as Southern Section commissioner". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 June 2024.
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2014-10-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-10-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2014-10-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Untitled 0". Archived from the original on 2014-10-10.
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-04. Retrieved 2014-10-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)