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How to become an AD.

Two young coaches recently asked me what they could do to become an athletic director. My initial response was, "Why in the world do you want to become an AD?" And then I got down to the business of answering their serious inquiry.

My apparently irreverent proclamation was, however, not the worst place to start. Did they under, Land what is actually involved in being an athletic director? Such as:

* Long hours,

* Stress.

* Dealing with some difficult people ... disgruntled parents, overbearing administrators, and high maintenance coaches.

* Handling complaint and problems. An athletic director also has to wade through suffocating mounds of paper-work. With the common use of computers, America was supposed in have become a paperless society. In the world of the AD, don't believe it! To mention just a few of the forms that an athletic director always has to contend with:

* Eligibility forms.

* Physical forms.

* Permission forms.

* Officials' payment vouchers.

* Budget proposals.

Considering the paperwork and the time-intensive responsibilities, the AD job can he tedious and certainly unglamorous. But the AD also leads and guides programs that provide great opportunities for our young people, and that has to become his focus.

Even coaches with stellar records require preparation to make it as AD's. The days when football coaches automatically ascended to the AD's position are long gone. What also is true is that you cannot wait until a vacancy is posted to move up into administration.

You have to prepare for this opportunity. Your credentials have to contain something that will distinguish you from the other candidate's. While you may currently be happy coaching, where do you want to be in 10-15 years and what are you going to do to get there?

Following are some of the concrete steps you might consider in developing a background in athletic directing.

1. Serve as an assistant AD even if it means doing it as a volunteer without pay. The practical experience and its listing on your resume are important steps in achieving your first full-time athletic administrative position.

2. Join the state and national professional organizations. It will demonstrate a serious commitment to learning and professional growth. It may help even more to become actively involved in attending their meetings and conferences.

3. Take National Interscholastic Athletic Administrator's (NIAAA) Leadership Training Courses that practicing athletic directors take to enhance their background and improve their knowledge base. The completion of several courses will certainly distinguish you from other inexperienced candidates or even from many existing AD's.

4. Consider taking some graduate courses in sports management or related fields. While a master's degree is not required on the secondary level it, may become one more differential when an interview committee is considering your credentials in the hiring process.

5. Accept other leadership positions in gaining practical experience that can be transferred to the AD'S position. For example, serving as a league president, major committee chairperson or an officer in the state coaches' association will give you something concrete to list on your resume.

6. Brush up on your communication skills, particularly writing and public speaking. In athletic administration, these two skills will largely predict your success. Writing and public speaking will usually form the basis upon which you and your program will be judged.

7. Take note of the "Best Practices" of existing AD's. As a young assistant basketball coach when scouting opponents, I not only took notes for the scouting report, but also for the things I saw and liked. I put a copy of both the report and additional notes into a folder for the day when I became a head coach.

It will also be wise to take note of the good things that your AD and the administrators at other schools do. Collect guidelines, checklists, documents and anything that might be beneficial to you on the road to your first athletic administrative position.

8. Apply for a number of positions and keep angling for interviews. The experience of simply going through an interview is extremely valuable. Always jot down the questions which you were asked, analyze your answers and grow from the experience. Interviewing is a skill that can be learned and improved upon and will improve your chances in the future.

9. Consider applying for an AD's position at a school with an unsuccessful, downtrodden program. These programs may be less attractive and might draw fewer applicants, but they will give you a better chance of being selected and also help flesh out your resume.

Once you decide to become an AD, you have to formulate a course of action to built your credentials. It is these preparatory steps that will set you apart from other candidates. Preparation is your best chance of achieving your goal of becoming an athletic director.

You just don't wake up one morning and think, "I guess I'll apply for that athletic director's job." You have to prepare for it.

DR. DAVID HOCH Director of Athletics Loch Raven High School Baltimore County, MD
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Title Annotation:A.D.Ministration ... preparation and anticipation are essential in the making of an athletic director
Author:Hoch, David
Publication:Coach and Athletic Director
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2003
Previous Article:Coaches' corner.
Next Article:Moving forward by stepping backward.

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