Athletic directors are feeling the strain of the pandemic – Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel

Mike LeGage is in his 22nd year as an athletic director, the past 13 at Scarborough High. He expects some ADs nearing retirement will choose to leave after this school year, but he worries more that younger athletic directors will choose a new career path because of the added job pressures that come with the pandemic. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Mike LeGage’s work day as Scarborough High’s athletic director routinely starts at 7 a.m. with emails and phone calls and ends around 10 p.m., when the last gym door has been locked and players and coaches have returned from the last late practice or road game.

He’ll interact with hundreds of students from Scarborough’s 74 middle and high school teams and many on the 112-person staff he hires, manages and evaluates. Volunteers are lined up to help manage games and events. About 50 extra-curricular clubs and 30 booster groups are his department’s responsibility. There’s needed communication with police and fire personnel at games, teachers and other school administrators, and of course his other busy peers.

“This job is a big responsibility to begin with,” said LeGage, in his 13th year at Scarborough and 22nd as an athletic director. “The job is very challenging. The difference with athletics is, the passion people have for it. It kind of makes it very much personal for people.”

Then came COVID.

As the pandemic drags near its two-year anniversary, Maine’s high school athletic administrators are feeling the strain. For the past two years, they’ve been coping with canceled seasons and postponed games, frustrated parents, and ever-changing protocols about how and when to play sports safely.

And it’s taking a toll.

“There’s no question that this last two years has had an impact. It’s been very, very difficult,” said Gary Stevens, who is in his 26th year as an athletic director, the last 15 at Thornton Academy in Saco. “In some moments, I think it’s brought out the best in me in terms of trying to provide leadership, but also it’s revealed that we’re all human beings … and each one of us is frail.”

Maranacook Athletic Director Brant Remington called this winter “the worst season” since the canceled spring in 2020.

Brant Remington, the athletic director at Maranacook Community High in Readfield, keep tracks of games on a a whiteboard because there have been so many schedule changes due to COVID-19 postponements. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“I think my biggest stress is the disappointment (from) the players,” he said. “(Scheduling) doesn’t totally stress me out. But when the kids are like ‘Oh, we don’t have a game, what’s going on?’ Just that disappointment. I deal with the stress pretty good, but there are times, I’d say right around the new year, it was starting to get to me.”

As the acting director of the Maine Interscholastic Athletic Administrators’ Association, Gerry Durgin hears his peers’ concerns – and their fatigue. Durgin said he’s heard from some ADs who “are not sure how much longer they can do this.”

Durgin said he doubts the extra work of rescheduling games postponed by COVID protocols – a task made more difficult by a lack of bus drivers and game officials – or the even longer hours are the major issues.</…….

Source: https://www.centralmaine.com/2022/01/29/athletic-directors-are-feeling-the-strain-of-the-pandemic/

Mike LeGage is in his 22nd year as an athletic director, the past 13 at Scarborough High. He expects some ADs nearing retirement will choose to leave after this school year, but he worries more that younger athletic directors will choose a new career path because of the added job pressures that come with the pandemic. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Mike LeGage’s work day as Scarborough High’s athletic director routinely starts at 7 a.m. with emails and phone calls and ends around 10 p.m., when the last gym door has been locked and players and coaches have returned from the last late practice or road game.

He’ll interact with hundreds of stude…….

Mike LeGage is in his 22nd year as an athletic director, the past 13 at Scarborough High. He expects some ADs nearing retirement will choose to leave after this school year, but he worries more that younger athletic directors will choose a new career path because of the added job pressures that come with the pandemic. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Mike LeGage’s work day as Scarborough High’s athletic director routinely starts at 7 a.m. with emails and phone calls and ends around 10 p.m., when the last gym door has been locked and players and coaches have returned from the last late practice or road game.

He’ll interact with hundreds of stude…….

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