Athletic Director of a high school: Dave Healy, Worth County R-III School District

Below is the results of an interview between Jami Goodwin, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University and Dale Healy, the Athletic Director of Worth Country R-III High School. The interview was conducted in the fall of 2001.

Q: What is your Name?

Dale Healy

Q: What is your official title?

High School Principal/Athletic Director.

Q: Where are your currently employed?

Grant City, Missouri.

Q: Please briefly describe your educational background.

I earned my Bachelor Degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Social Studies; Masters Degree in Secondary School Administration and Supervision.

Q: Describe the hiring process you went through to obtain this position.

I wrote a formal letter of application. That was sent along with a resume and I requested that my credentials be sent. I then called to check on the status of my application. Within a few days, I was called for an interview. That interview was with the members of the board of education, district administrators and a selected group of teachers. The district then checked my references and quality of past employment prior to offering the position.

Q: What factors influenced your decision to come to Worth County?

Initially, it was to gain experience of interviewing after 14 years at the same school. Worth County was also close in proximity to the school I was serving and slightly larger. Worth County also had excellent facilities. After I discovered that positions could well be open for both my wife and myself, my interest peaked.

Q: Is this typical for a person in your field?

I think most people want to serve schools that are larger than where they were before. It’s kind of the bigger is better thought, but one must feel comfortable with the conditions. I have since had numerous opportunities to move, but we feel that this is an excellent place to raise our children and we have good people to work with.

Q: What strengths does a person need to possess to succeed in this position?

You really need to enjoy working with people. People skills are a must. Secondly, one needs to devote their life to it, because it certainly will take your time. If your family is not comfortable with the time factor, you may as well forget it.

Q: Are there any major obstacles you had to overcome?

The only real obstacle I had to overcome is to realize that almost everyone thinks they know the right answer.

Q: What are the most essential skills for a person in your profession?

Organization, communication skills (convincing coaches that they actually may do something that can be taken wrong or helping a parent talk with a coach), dependability, thick skin, basic knowledge of athletics, it’s rules and philosophy, and the ability to work with numerous people who you must rely upon. One works almost daily with coaches, officials, custodians and secretaries and volunteers who help administer an activity. One will also work with the students many times a week and speak with parents who offer praise for the work of others or concern for how someone handled a situation.

Q: What three duties do you consider the most important that your perform?

1. Hire good people.

2. Schedule games and officials

3. Stress to others the need to work together

Q: What attracts people to this career?

The ability to impact education in a different way and to impact many people by your decisions.

Q: What keeps people here?

Generally if someone feels their work is appreciated, they will stay. Still, one must be successful in what they do

Q: Is there a certain personality type or traits that you desire or prefer to work with when looking at the field of Athletic Directors?

We try to hire those who are successful, but also those who can work with others. In schools, one must have give and take and see the importance in the success of all programs.

Q: What are three major accomplishments with the Worth County athletic program that you feel personally responsible for?

1. We have a very stable football staff and consequently a very successful program.

2. Track has seen great success and is in the process of constructing a new track

3. Our coaches understand that their programs though important are not any more important to our school than other programs, organizations or activities.

Q: How have you seen this career evolve since you entered college?

The amount of time and paperwork has evolved into a time consuming effort. It used to be that many administrators had this as a duty. Today, most schools are utilizing someone other than the principal to do many of the duties. In our situation, we have shared the duties.

Q: Describe a typical day for you.

I probably spend 40% of my day with athletic director responsibilities. Some days it may be 90% and other days only 10%. It is difficult to give a typical day, but let’s try. Before school, I’ll spend an average of twenty minutes a day either in scheduling meetings, talking with a coach to check on a game or a custodian to check on game things. Usually, I’ll speak with another athletic director before school. 1st,2nd and 3rd periods; attendance and bulletin work. 4th and 5th periods are usually spent speaking with kids on everything from attendance to discipline. 6th period is usually on the phone scheduling activities. 7th period is usually checking on student progress. I will speak with most coaches during their planning period at least once a week. After school and evenings, can be anywhere from at least an hour scheduling or speaking with officials to 2 hours of setting up for an activity and 5 more hours of supervision.

Q: What are the employment opportunities for a person interested in the field of athletic director?

Most schools only need one, so the chances are not great, but for those who are organized, it is looking good.

Q: What is a typical starting salary for this career?

$45,000 if administrator and also serving as principal, $25,000 for non-administrator.

Q: How rapidly/slowly does this career advance?

It’s pretty stable.

Q: What are some of the most unique and/or creative experiences you have had at Worth County?

The fundraising for the track was really fun. We had people on the committee who were great salesmen. They raised a lot of money in a few days. We were also blessed with great grant writers. We actually sit down every two weeks and arrange practice schedules. It helps everyone understand the importance of other organizations. We make much more information available for parents such as practice times, bus schedules, almost anything that will help them understand, and then we also have legalities that we need to cover with parents.

Q: Are there currently any changes you are working to implement in the Worth County Athletic Department?

We just completed a review of the eligibility policies and a year ago revised our extra duty pay schedule. This last year we hosted district softball, the state semi-final football game, three large track meets with the addition of one more for the high school. It was a busy year; that required a lot of time. This may be a good time to sit back and see what needs to be done.

Q: What advice would you give an undergraduate student interested in the field of Sports Management?

If you really enjoy seeing any athlete excel whether they are from your school or another, then go for it. If you can’t see the need for flexibility or give and take, it will be a long haul for you, because you need to be able to sell your program and if you can’t work with others, it is impossible to gain others support.

Q: Do you have any questions for me?

No

(Thank you very much, Mr. Healy.)