The THSADA is hosting a series of conversations with some of our retired members. The purpose of these interviews is to provide current athletic administrators with a sense of what their peers had to deal with in the past and to keep up with what some of our retired members are currently doing.
The first in this series of interviews is with former THSADA President and Hall of Honor member-Bob Dubey. Bob was the former Director of Athletics for the Richardson ISD and served as THSADA President from 2012-2013.
- When did you get into education, and can you detail your professional resume from start to finish?
I started my career in the fall of 1977. I was a graduate assistant football coach at Southern Arkansas University. In the spring of 1978 I was hired to teach at Richardson High School and Coach at West Junior High. In the fall of 1979 I moved to the Richardson High School Varsity football staff. I stayed at Richardson HS coaching football and baseball until I became the Head Football Coach at Richardson Berkner HS in the spring of 1989. In the spring of 2000 I became athletic director for Richardson ISD. I remained the AD until leaving the profession in January of 2017. I spent 40 years in Education with all of them being in Richardson.
- When you first became an Athletic Administrator, what were some of the initial challenges that you faced?
I was fortunate that Richardson ISD considered the four head football coaches administrators. We were required to run our campus and the feeder schools. This helped prepare me for the central AD position. I’d say my biggest challenges were convincing all of the attendance zones I would treat them equally without favorites. Some believed I would only take care of the two schools that I had worked at. This belief soon passed and I had loyal coaches across all attendance zones. The other challenge most prevalent was an under funded budget. I had to educate coaches on how we would take care of all needs and some wants. Safety was our #1 concern.
- How well-prepared were you for the job when you first became an Athletic Administrator?
I was prepared pretty well. I will say, “you don’t know what you don’t know” until you are thrown into the fire. I believe no one is totally prepared because there is no circumstance exactly the same. An understanding of policy, procedures, and an application of common sense will carry you a long way. I agree with many who say wait 24 hours before making final decisions. This is a good rule of thumb because it takes emotions out of the equation. But sometimes you can’t wait 24 hours. So, allow your moral compass to guide your decisions when you can.
- As you moved through your career as an Athletic Administrator, what were some of the more unique challenges you faced as the years moved on?
I don’t know if it is unique or not. In my opinion one of the toughest things of the job was having to fire a coach that I liked and I thought did a good job of coaching. During my almost 18 years as AD I had to remove several coaches from their duties. In almost every situation the coach, due to success or years in the position, got to a point where they believed they were bigger than the job itself. When things like this happen they begin to break rules, compromise ethics, ask for forgiveness instead of permission, and/or place kids in positions they should never be in. Our profession should always make decisions based on what is best for the student/athletes. When this does not happen, it’s time for a new coach.
5 What were some of the rewards you experienced as an Athletic Administrator?
Rewards for me were seeing our coaches and student athletes have success and to win games they were not supposed to. Also it was rewarding seeing the improvement of old facilities. Turf fields, new press boxes, lights for baseball and softball, a new sound system. These were very rewarding events and ones kids and coaches were proud to see.
- Did you have any mentors who you communicated with once you became an Athletic Administrator?
I was fortunate to follow Mike Jenkins. I was able to call him anytime and he would walk me through a process or give me a history lesson. He was a valuable resource. Other AD’s that I would call from time to time were, Homer Johnson, Cliff Odenwald, Steve (Bubba) Williams, Joe Barnett and Bob DeJonge. Some of these dear friends became AD’s about the same time as I did. In many cases it became a group effort. We learned together.
- From the outside looking in, what do you feel are some of the biggest challenges that face Athletic Administrators today?
The things facing AD’s today is parents that don’t value the hard work, discipline, and earned playing time that coaches require of their student/athletes. These parents want to do everything for their kids and don’t realize the values of getting knocked down and having to pick yourself up and try again. This attitude/ approach by parents erodes the core of athletics and is a constant battle for coaches and AD’s as they deal with off the field meetings and selfish agendas.