Ochsner giving up A.D. duties at Helias

Stan Ochsner (left) talks with athletic trainer Ben Kuster during a Helias girls basketball game last week at Rackers Fieldhouse.

Stan Ochsner (left) talks with athletic trainer Ben Kuster during a Helias girls basketball game last week at Rackers Fieldhouse. Photo by Deborah Cote.

A little time away can help clear the mind.

And help you make a decision.

A couple of free weeks last November helped Stan Ochsner, who has been activities director at Helias High School for more than 10 years, decide he was going to step down from that position at the end of the school year.

“This school year, in between fall and winter sports, we had a break,” Ochsner said. “The past couple of years, with football and boys soccer, we haven’t had that.

“I was getting home by 4 or 4:15 p.m. and I thought it was like being on vacation. I really enjoyed it and I realized if I enjoyed it that much, I needed to look to see if I really needed to continue to do this.”

Ochsner will remain as Dean of Stu- dents. He will also take over as admissions director, which became open when Phil Pitts was named head football coach.

“I’m not ready to retire, I’m just ready not to work 70 hour weeks,” Ochsner, 60, said.

The Helias athletic department prefers to promote from within, when possible. After Ochsner told the school staff of his decision in an e-mail Thursday, several people talked with him about the position Friday.

“In lieu of a job description, I just made up a list of what I do,” said Ochsner, who added the in-house deadline to apply for the position is this Thursday. “I’m giving it to them and letting them look at it and decide if it is something they’d like to do.”

The to-do list is lengthy.

“It’s an intense job, staying on top of everything,” Ochsner said. “You have to be ready to go full blast all the time.”

There’s more to the position than just making schedules, getting buses for travel and finding referees and officials.

“There’s a lot of public relations with the job, things you have to do with MSHSAA, you’re the supervisor of all the coaches and doing evaluations,” Ochsner said. “Plus you’re at most of the activities, as well as things with the student council and Homecoming.”

Adding all of that to his duties as Dean of Students became more and more timeconsuming.

“I was looking for ways to make things better, but as I was adding things to my plate, I found that plate was getting more full,” Ochsner said. “Realistically, with our budget situation, we weren’t going to be able to afford someone to help.”

Ochsner said the school “is leaning” toward not having a coach also serve as activities director, meaning that person could no longer coach. Current coaches are among those who have shown interest in the position and some told Ochsner they would prefer to continue to coach as well.

While he stressed that wouldn’t preclude them from being considered, it would make the job of activities director more difficult.

“One of the jobs this person would have is evaluating coaches, and I don’t think you can have someone do that to someone they work with every day in a sport season,” Ochsner said.

Another obvious problem in combining the A.D. position with coaching is the time element.

“Coaches get into what they’re doing, that’s their passion,” Ochsner said. “You don’t want to get into a situation where things aren’t necessarily getting done because a coach is with their respective team and doesn’t have the time.

“To add this job with the passion and commitment our coaches bring to their respective sports, it would be asking a lot.”

Helias would like to have the position filled before teacher contracts go out, which usually happens in early March.

A job Ochsner will be keeping is public address announcer at home football games. He just wrapped up is 35th year behind the microphone.

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