There are a lot of responsibilities when it comes to being an athletic director, and four Cobb County athletic directors were recognized by the Georgia Athletic Directors Association for their work as region ADs of the year.
Cobb was one of only four counties with more than three athletic directors who won the award this year.
Walker’s Leigh Block won the award for Region 7A Private, Pope’s Josh Mathews won in Region 6AAAAAA, Campbell’s Jeff Hutson won in Region 2AAAAAAA and Marietta’s Craig McKinney won in Region 3AAAAAAA.
“I think the most special thing about (the awards) is they’re voted on by the ADs,” said Block, a three-time winner who stepped down after the school year to became the AD as Fort Worth Country Day School in Texas. “We’ve had an incredible lineup of ADs across the region, so to be recognized by those administrators as (the best), I think that’s probably the most meaningful thing to me.”
The other ADs also said that winning the award that comes from their peers is what makes it so special.
“It’s really kind of like your rivals are recognizing you when they vote for that,” McKinney said. “It’s a big honor that your opponents recognize not only the success you’re having, but really the level of sportsmanship and hospitality that Marietta has come to be known for since I’ve been here.”
Some ADs get through the day differently than others. Block said his favorite part of the job was that every day was different, while Hutson, who won the award for the second year in a row and the third time overall, said that his daily routine is “organized chaos.”
Some of the ADs also have to balance their jobs with other responsibilities in the school. Block was an English teacher and coach of the girls basketball team, while Hutson and Mathews are assistant principals.
They said that one of the biggest keys to balancing everything was proper organization.
“I don’t know how people do this job unless they have crazy attention to detail,” Block said. “That kind of fits my personality, so that’s definitely been a help.”
Hutson also said that surrounding yourself with good people can ease the stress of the daily routine.
“I am very fortunate to work for an outstanding school district and an outstanding principal that allows me to work and allows our coaches to coach,” Hutson said. “We’ve got unbelievable support staff that makes the job enjoyable and eases the burden as well.”
Although the job is not easy, the athletic directors do find rewarding aspects from it, saying that watching the athletes and teams improve is what makes the job worth it.
McKinney said that working under his philosophy makes the experience better for him.
“When you make your mind the main priority while serving others, everybody that you come in contact with every day is happy to see you because you’re always doing things for them,” McKinney said. “That way, when you’re not at your best, you’d have a network of people, everybody you run into, who wants you to be successful because you make them feel good.”
McKinney said that it is also important for him to spread his philosophy to the coaches and the players, so they can do the same.