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Who runs Sports at Your School?
J. C. Tilton

Well the athletic director, that's who. Sure the administration - the superintendents and school board have some say and influence. But the day to day administration and ultimate decision making comes down to one person, the Athletic Director. The AD is generally the person you picture on the sidelines, arms folded, watching a game, or trying to watch a game while speaking with a member of the community. But there is a lot more to this job than just being figure head.

To do this story I spoke with Dan Bassler of TVS and John Steckli of Dixie. Both of them have other duties besides just being AD of their respective schools. Dan Bassler teaches several subjects at TVS and John Steckli is an assistant principal. So being an AD is something that they do in addition to their normal duties. As one would expect, a good deal of time is spent in scheduling. Not just scheduling games, but in allocating practice times in the facilities, bus drivers, help for home games, and so forth. Budgets are part of the job as well. There is so much money allocated for sports and the AD must work with the various coaches to slice up the High School Sports pie into the budget constraints that the school dictates. Both agreed that July was the only true ‘dead' month and from August on it was generally busy. Things did slow down a bit in November and March when one sports season ended and the other began.

One question was what was the most stressful part of the job. Both agreed it was home games, and football home games seem to have the most overhead. It takes a lot of coordination to do a football home game. Volunteers have to do the gate and chain gang. Some one needs to do the scoreboard and also an announcer. Not to mention referees. If it is a special night such as homecoming or parents night, then that needs to be organized as well. John Steckli admitted that his favorite part of a home football is when it is over, the lights are out, and he is in his office relaxing. The rest of time he so busy watching over details or speaking with folks that he has to constantly stay on his toes. The long days are another point of stress. Dan Bassler said that when you are on onsite for home games, it can end up being a long day. You put in a regular school day, then you are back onsite sometimes until 9-10pm.

When asked about their favorite part of the job. Dan Bassler, replied that you get to watch all of the sports. The school wants to have an administrator on site and generally that person is the AD.
So you have the best seat in the house for all of your home games. When asked about his favorite part of the job John Steckli replied with a chuckle, “The last home football game of the year!” Then he got serious and stated that he liked to work with kids. “Sports and Athletics are a part of education, they learn things that you just can't pick up in the classroom.”

Being in the SWBL, John Stecki noted that the schools are watching closely the school funding woes of Preble Shawnee. If things don't go right, then Shawnee could drop sports. That could leave a hole in the schedule of many SWBL schools. They will need to scramble to fill that void. If that game is a home game and isn't filled then that will impact the budgets as well. The revenue from football games helps the sports budget out as a whole. A dropped game, or even a rainy night will negatively impact the football revenues. They will have more time to fill an open spot in the basketball schedules, but if the home game is filled by a team from outside the area then there will not be as many folks filling the visitors section of the bleachers.

So there are a lot of details to take of as an AD. The reason why you see them on the sidelines relaxing during the game is that they spent all the time before hand organizing everything so that when the whistle blows to start the game, they can stand back and watch. Comments: email to

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