Athletic director jobs focus not only on sports excellence but also on academic and department excellence. Athletic directors are responsible for keeping their departments in line with league regulations and policies, for fostering a community of athletes and staff sensitive toward equality and human dignity, and for ensuring that athletes are succeeding in their studies; they are the ambassadors between academic and athletic bodies, and are responsible for travel and expense planning. Athletic directors have a lot of jobs to do at once, many of which require a multitasking mentality and flexible attitude.
First and foremost you will need a bachelor’s degree in something related to education or physical education.i Second, it would be wise to earn a teaching certificate, as many high schools and colleges require their AD’s to demonstrate some degree of experience at the teaching level. You will also need to have a love for every kind of sport so that you can speak football with the football coach and speak volleyball with the volleyball coach. As one might expect, most high schools anticipate that applicants for an athletic director should have some coaching experience themselves. But above all, a passion for games and athletes defines what it means to be a director of athletics.
An athletic director for a university acts as a representative of their school, and as such is responsible for how the school is viewed at the internal level, from one department head to the next, and how the school is viewed through media outlets. In both cases, his or her actions often determine the positive or negative outlook on an institution. Not only are they sometimes the face of their school, they are responsible for developing the polices for how they think their school should be viewed by the public. With this in mind, directors are also responsible for promoting equality within their programs: things like ensuring fairness in gender and race issues fall to them. In addition, they also develop policies for athletes regarding in-class and on the playing field conduct, dress codes, and rules for practices and games, etc.
Unlike university athletic director jobs, the job of the high school athletic director is much less aimed toward media sensitivity; instead, it is more concerned with practical results. They take their experience with athletes during their coaching years and implement it in their new managerial role. They supervise varying departments, from the financial department to the maintenance department, ensuring that everyone is on task. Many times they take their teaching experience and meet with students upon request from upper management. They write reports that include statistics and data covering the state of their program, and keep in contact with both parents and teachers regarding student athletes.
Being an athletic director requires a certain type of personality. You have to love sports, and you have to be good at doing a lot of different things all at once. Organization and dexterity are key.