Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Time finally right for Nolan

I would have thought Amarillo ISD athletic director Tex Nolan would have hung it up before now. Nolan, 67, announced his retirement Tuesday after 13 years as AD and 18 years in the athletic department.

Maybe Nolan was just too grateful at a second chance at life after nearly dying in early 2001. He became ill at a basketball tournament and his liver failed. Nolan was rushed to a Dallas hospital and eventually received a liver transplant.

A few months later, he was back on the job.

Maybe the timing wasn't right until now. A massive remodeling of Dick Bivins Stadium was underway in 2004 and did not get completed until 2005. It probably didn't seem right to retire at that point. And he told the Globe-News on Tuesday that he wanted to get through a realignment year with all the headaches of the new and huge District 2-5A.

I first knew Tex when he was a track coach at Dalhart in the early 1980s and had some outstanding track teams, that included his son, Dodd. Despite brutal weather, his teams were a regional and at times a statewide force.

I would imagine his RV will get a few more miles on it over the next few years when he and Pat aren't following the activities of their grandkids.

Who will replace Nolan? If history holds, it would be assistant AD Alan Hunicutt. Amarillo has had five athletic directors in its history, and four of them were all promoted from within. It's been quite the opposite philosophy of its sister city, Lubbock, which has almost always looked from the outside.

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