This article was written by Tommy Mangieri, a senior in the journalism class at U-32.
New Athletic Director Derek Dunning has joined the U-32 Athletics family. If you are a student not much is known about Derek, with him being someone most students would not interact with on a daily basis like other New Faces at U-32. U-32 is well into its school year, and with that there are more Coaches who have worked with Derek so far throughout the fall sports season. With the winter sports season coming in hot,this is a good time to get a consensus from some coaches as well as from Derek himself on how the Fall season has gone and how the winter season is shaping up.
This is Derek’s first year as an Athletic Director (AD for short). For the past 12 years Derek worked at Norwich University as the director of Athletic Communications.
He commented on this, “I was responsible for social media website recap or website recap, stats, press, press management, all that stuff. So not a whole lot of direct similarities as far as athletic administration.” This, as Derek mentioned, did not have much to do with athletic administration, or as much as he had hoped to have or as he put it, “I wanted to go in a more athletic administrator path and didn’t have that opportunity.”
Now Derek has had that opportunity and things seem to be working out quite well for him with a successful Fall season. Boys soccer having made a deep run into the playoffs, Girls field hockey having a dominant regular season and cross country winning states.. It’s safe to say that Derek is enjoying U-32.
“I have really just been impressed with the community with the coaching staff and the student athletes so far. And what they bring to the table and just trying to build on that a little bit more.”
Derek had some words about the Fall season with it being his first season as a AD, ““I’ll say it’s hectic. I don’t know if anybody who’s been in it previously would say that just because [I’m new] like everything I’m experiencing for the first time.”Derek brought up that one of the reasons that this fall season was so hectic from a AD perspective was because the lack of Referees,“We had to shift things around constantly because they couldn’t get officials for this. So you had to have a very specific day that you could go for that they might have openings for,”.
Don’t just take it from Derek, coaches think he’s doing a great job as well. Meg Allison, the U32 Varsity Girls Cross Country coach said, “It’s been so wonderful to have Derek as a part of the U-32. Family. He’s been really just engaged going above and beyond. It’s a big job.” Derek is doing his part with the coaches of U-32 and in return is becoming a big part of the U-32 community.
“He’s done a lot for the cross country teams. In fact, I’m going to be meeting with him at 11:30 today so he can show me how to use [the sound speakers]on the track so that we can blast some music during our speed workout today”, Said Meg Allison. Derek had also shown his support at states for the Cross Country Team, “He actually came to S tates and was there for both races and stayed for the award ceremony. And that shows a huge level of support to be able to come down and support our team there.”
With the Fall season coming to a close the final question was his outlook for the Winter sports season,
“Winter is a brand new ballgame again for me. It’s awesome that we have so many different opportunities for people to participate in sports here during the winter.”