Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tex's retirement reception

Tex Nolan, the Amarillo ISD's athletic director for the last 13 years, had a retirement reception Tuesday afternoon at the board room at the administration building.

Nolan announced his retirement earlier this month. It's effective June 30. Coaches and administrators trickled in and out during the two-hour reception. Blake Bagwell, associate West Texas A&M football coach, expert blogger, top-notch sportswriter and United Market Street check-out employee extraordinaire, was even in the house. And in a tie, no less.

Nolan said there are a couple of areas within the department that he feels especially good about as he's retiring.

"Probably the people we've put in key positions and maintaining a balanced program," he said. "Whatever we do, we want to try to be the best in what we do. De Walker (first Amarillo AD) had that philosophy when girls athletics was started and it's one we've always tried to follow."

Tascosa and Amarillo High were part of the new 10-team District 2-5A this year that included teams from Midland, Odessa, and San Angelo in addition to the familiar foes from Lubbock.

Nolan said he did a spread sheet for all boys and girls sports that attached a point total for finish with 10 points for first, seven for second, and five for third. He said Amarillo High finished third, and Tascosa was sixth. Both AHS and Tascosa have the smallest enrollment in the district -- by far.

"We more than held our own across the board in the district," he said.

And it's the new district, particularly as it relates to travel, that Nolan said was his biggest challenge. AISD had to add about $500,000 to the travel budget this year because of added one-way trips of 250 miles to Midland and Odessa, and 315 miles to San Angelo.

"That probably kept me here this year," Nolan said. "The problems and the things that come up, I didn't want the new guy to get the blame with something that I inherited."

The AISD will name a new athletic director this summer. Of the five athletic directors in the school district's history, all but the first were promoted within the system. Nolan was an assistant under Sonny Lang for three years before he got the job.

If that again holds true, Alan Hunnicutt would be in line to succeed Nolan. If not, it will be the first athletic director successor ever hired outside the system.

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