A question and answer with Whitman-Hanson AD Bob Rodgers.
The suspense and unknowns are two aspects of a new year that Whitman-Hanson Regional High athletic director Bob Rodgers can’t get enough.
From state titles to Patriot League championships to major milestones, he’s seen it all in his previous eight years as the school’s AD, and he’s setting a lofty goal for year No. 9.
The Express chatted with Rodgers about what to expect going into the fall.
Q: What gets you most excited for a new year of athletics?
A: “Students grow so much in the offseason, both mentally and physically. It’s exciting to see that improvement and growth. You never know which students will come back and have all-star seasons. It’s also exciting to feel the energy that high school sports brings to the entire school climate.”
Q: What’s your favorite part of the school year and why?
A: “I love it all, each season has its special qualities. My favorite is whatever season we are in. I will admit there is something special about the fall though because everyone is refreshed and excited for the new beginning.”
Q: How do you feel playing a sport benefits students?
A: “The self-discovery students enjoy by playing sports is invaluable. Young people (if those around them will allow it) get the opportunity to navigate adversity and solve problems in a safe environment. I believe this truly helps shape their ability to do the same later in life. All of the personal qualities of work ethic, discipline, dedication, sacrifice, teamwork, loyalty and all of the other components of character are allowed to grow through the high school athletic experience.”
Q: What are the highs and lows of being an AD?
A: “The highs are all about the kids. Seeing them pursue their goals and enjoy the journey is so rewarding. Knowing they are creating memories they will have for a lifetime is really special. In terms of lows, I don’t really look at it that way. But I will say sometimes the negativity gets me down. When people are highly critical of one of our programs without cause gets me disappointed. Usually that negativity comes from a misinformed place.”
Q: For those who don’t know, what goes into the role of an AD?
A: “It’s a great job and I love it, but the demands are tough. Most ADs work all year and are available seven days a week and often late hours. We handle finance, human resources, scheduling, policy implementation and creation, working with our league and state association, public relations and culture development as well as coaching education and training.”
Q: When you look back on last year, what moment(s) stick out?
A: “It’s so hard to pick one moment. Truthfully every team is special in its own way and each one has special moments I enjoyed.”
Q: Have there been any improvements in athletics for this upcoming year?
A: “This will be our first full year with the new scoreboard and we are hoping that every team that plays on that field will be using it.”
Q: Are there any teams at W-H that you have your eye on to make a deep postseason run or perhaps surprise some people?
A: “The best part of going into the season is that no one knows how teams will do as so much of it depends on how the kids trained when none of us were looking.”
Q: Are there any dates that fans of W-H athletics should mark down on their calendars for any reason?
A: “That entire first week of games will be a blast.”
Q: What are you hoping to see as the year gets underway?
A: “I hope we break the record for student participation this year once again. We have seen our numbers increases each of the last three years. My dream would be to have every student in the school join a team so they could learn how truly special it is to be on a team.”