The Piedmont Highlander

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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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April 18, 2024

New athletic director slides onto first from Arizona


Vic Acuña took over the position of athletic director on Feb. 8.

Although he was not on the interview panel to pick a candidate, Assistant Principal Eric Mapes, who handles the administrative side of athletics, said that the panel chose Acuña largely for his experience. Acuña has been an athletic director for 14 years, splitting time between two different private schools in Tucson, Ariz.

“[The interview panel] was very happy with the pool of candidates who applied,” Mapes said.

P.E. teacher and former athletic director Jeff Peters said that being able to  effectively communicate and stay organized are the most important characteristics for an athletic director because a significant portion of the job is devoted to holding meetings with teams, coaches, parents, individual students and the administration. AD Man taken by Oli Bogle

“We work very closely,” Mapes said. “We’re constantly texting each other.”

Another duty of the athletic director is to attend games, which takes up significant time outside of school, Peters said. The league requires an administrator to be present at most athletic events, especially those that often attract crowds.

“It’s a big job,” Mapes said. “It’s many, many hours.”

Furthermore, the wide range of duties means that the job can be overwhelming, with many different personalities to deal with, Mapes said.

For Acuña, the best part of being an athletic director is interacting with coaches and students.

“I like the profession of coaching and I feel like an athletic director is the coach of the coaches,” Acuña said.

Acuña has coached high school baseball and scouted for MLB, and he became an athletic director almost by accident, stepping in when the athletic director left the school where he was coaching.

The current position is temporary, an independent contract through the end of the school year,  but Acuña intends to apply again. He has two daughters, in sixth and tenth grade, who are hoping to come to Piedmont next year.

“I’m really, really excited,” Acuña said. “I moved here from Arizona to be part of this community.”

Acuña is looking forward to learning all the different nuances of the school, and he anticipates that the hardest part will be implementing any necessary changes.

he soar“It’s only day four, so I haven’t changed anything yet, but I’m definitely observing to make sure that we are doing things in support of our student athletics,” Acuña said.

One obstacle that he sees so far is the logistics involved with sharing space at Witter Field.

“I went and watched yesterday, just from the top of the stadium and it’s pretty crazy,” Acuña said. “It looked like the land was moving around.”

At Acuña’s former schools in Arizona, the student bodies were smaller, around 400 to 500 students, with fewer athletic programs.

“Even though Piedmont is not a private school, we are still a small community,” Acuña said.

Especially because of the high level of student involvement, Acuña believes an athletic director should be in touch with everything going on at school, working to communicate with programs like the musical and theater departments over scheduling conflicts.

“He hit the ground running,” assistant athletic director Megan Hernandez said. “The first week of spring sports is a little crazy.

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