As the last couple weeks brought an end to another school year, unbeknownst to most, it also brought more of the systematic dismantling of high school sports, at least in Pleasanton.
I have been a believer that high school sports have been on a target list for some since the school district stopped funding the athletic programs at local high schools. And while the financial aspects are something I will address next week, I will go to what I consider the wrong decision regarding the athletic directors at Amador Valley and Foothill.
The heart of any athletic program at a high school is the athletic director and the athletic secretary. They are the boots on the ground, tasked with arguably the most thankless jobs in the school.
There isn't a day that goes by where they are not dealing with parents complaining about something. It is always their fault if something goes wrong -- as no athlete or their parents have ever done anything wrong.
It's a brutally tough job, but one done at both high schools with a passion toward the student-athletes.
The athletic director is almost always seen at school sporting events working in some capacity. That makes for long days as they are at the school before the school day starts, and if it's a night game, it might be 10 p.m. before they leave.
Dusty Collins at Foothill and Lou Cesario at Amador were big cheerleaders for the respective schools, supporting the programs without fail. They bust their rear ends to make their respective programs successful.
And now both are former athletic directors.
Both received letters from the Pleasanton Unified School District telling them their services were no longer needed at the end of the school year.
In more questionable wisdom from the school district -- and trust me, the wisdom is questionable -- the position of athletic director has been reorganized.
For starters, the position is now called "coordinator 1, high school operations." In addition, the position requires the "coordinator" to have a clear valid California administrative credential or be currently enrolled or willing to enroll in a California administrative credentialing program.
Also, there are increased job responsibility. As you work your way through the performance responsibilities, there is mention of "supporting ASB program, including monitoring budget and documentation for all program activities." That relates to the student leadership programs at the schools.
The following responsibility is "Supports extra-curricular Visual and Performing Arts programs, including budget and documentation for all program activities." Think band and drama performances.
Now you are taking an already overworked athletic director and adding more work as they are tasked with such programs as leadership and band at their schools.
My first thought was, good luck finding a quality person to apply for this job. And that thought has stuck with me.
It's hard enough to find a person to handle the AD job and do it right and efficiently. Now you're seeing the responsibilities increased and spreading out further than just the successful operation of two highly respected and successful athletic departments.
It's not just unfair to the athletic departments, but also to the band and leadership departments. Both are strong organizations and deserve their own supervision from someone that understands the dynamics of their respective programs.
The odds now favor getting someone into the spot who is not able to commit to each program with the efficiency they need and deserve.
The dynamics of high school sports continue to change, and change for the worst. The task of dealing with the finances alone grows each year, so getting rid of experienced people who know the issues at hand is not a well thought-out plan and not realistic.
In the end, it's another nail in the high school sports coffin. We need to keep people who care in the positions, not chase them out.
I am the first one to hope I am wrong, but sadly I see the demise of high school sports as very real, and the school district is not helping.