THSADA Showcase: Bernie Mulvaney
Where do I start? Athletics was always an integral part of my life. My very first memories are of organized athletics. This carried on through out my life into high school and college. I was never that elite athlete, you might say I am an overachiever. I think this has been a theme in my life. When I was a child I never even dreamed I could be an Athletic Director. In college, I studied broadcast journalism and was going to be the next big ESPN anchor. Then I coached an Optimist youth football team and I was hooked on teaching and coaching.
My career started at E.L. Furr High School on Houston’s east side. Over the next few years, I bounced around trying to find my fit. These stops included Channelview, Houston Christian and Fort Bend Clements. I was fortunate to Open Fort Bend Bush, with now fellow AD, Scott Moehlig. Scott gave me an opportunity to learn and grow as his Offensive Coordinator. It was an awesome experience.
However, being young and impatient I left Bush and joined Alief Taylor, with fellow now retired AD, Tom Gerber. Because of these experiences, in 2009, I was offered the Aldine MacArthur Campus Coordinator/Football Coach Position. MacArthur at that time had 65 students playing 5A football, I had my work cut out for me. For nearly 5 years, we built on little successes every day. I firmly believe that some of the best coaching jobs are done where there are bigger problems than who to block and tackle. MacArthur, a Title I school, had many struggles from issues our kids faced after they left the campus. It was a difficult decision to leave MacArthur, but I saw an opportunity where I could positively affect more student-athletes.
Goose Creek CISD, in Baytown, offered me that opportunity to have a positive influence on 25,000 students. Throughout my 6 years in Baytown, I have help lead coaches, athletes and students. I can confidently say that things are better here now. We have all heard the adage, leave things better than how you found them. I have been fortunate and am thankful for everybody who has helped me along this journey.
1. Day to Day tasks are difficult to explain. If you sat in the Athletic Directors chair before, you know what I mean. What I may have schedule may completely change based on something that may be asked of me by my Superintendent or an issue that has come up from a contest. It’s a managerial aspect sometimes. Other times it is leading our coaches’, so they can be a positive influence on our student’s life. It is busy life covering 3 high schools, 5 middle schools and being District Executive Committee Chair of 3 UIL districts. Did I mention I am over PE in the Curriculum and Instruction side too?
2. The best advice I can offer anyone who aspires to be an Athletic Director is, make sure you have a significant other who understands your passion. You will be gone long stretches of time. As you are growing in the profession you will take on extra, sometimes unpaid duties. These opportunities will give you insight on how the Athletic Director job is done and put you in position for the next opening. It’s not easy on my wife, who must deal with two kids while I am putting other kids first. When you have one kid, you are parent. When you have two kids, you are a referee. She’s the best referee I know!
3. What I enjoy must about being an Athletic Director is the growth I see. There is nothing better than watching a “B” teamer growing into a Varsity starter. I have always believed that everyday day you get better or you get worse, you never stay the same. I love watching our coaches and players work to get better every day. I know the life lessons we instill on fields, gyms and courts will carry over into our athletes’ personal lives as they get older. These are lessons that can not be learned in Chemistry class. Sacrifice, Overcoming Adversity, Building Confidence and Delayed Gratification are all things needed to be successful in today’s world.
4. I believe every experience I have had has prepared me to an Athletic Director. I challenge everyone who reads this to keep growing. Never stop. Part of my growth was obtaining a Doctor of Education degree. The thought process behind this was that many of our district leaders are no longer former coaches. This educational level would put me on the same level and be able to speak their language. On a side note, my dissertation was: A Phenomenological Study of Marzano’s 21 Leadership Responsibilities Practiced by Title I High School Principals in Southeast Texas with High Student Achievement. I do have autographed copies available. Just kidding.