If your career path is pointing you in the direction of becoming an Athletic Director, one of the first steps is knowing what is required of you. The duties involved in the career of an Athletic Director are many. Athletic directors are in high demand; and positions will require managerial experience, sharp business minds, and the ability to maintain work efficiency. Wondering where you will attain these skills? A reputable Sports Management Degree program will be the first plan of attack. Read on for the complete description of an Athletic Director including their duties, more on the educational requirements, and the salary expectations for new graduates.
Duties of an Athletic Director
The primary responsibility of an athletic director is to oversee all aspects of the athletic programs that are sponsored by a school or an institution. This includes the hiring of staff and coaches, ordering equipment for teams, promoting events, matches, and meets. Directors must be skilled in budgeting and allocating funds, and facilitating operations. The athletic director may also participate in fundraising for the teams and to providing guidance to the students in the sports program. Athletic Directors also supervise all sports personnel and resolve any administrative issues. In addition to scheduling games and events, the athletic director will collaborate with the coaching staff on scheduling game days and practices throughout the sports season, ensuring no scheduling conflict occurs between different teams for use of shared equipment like weight rooms and athletic trainers’ attention. Athletic directors must also keep track of policy changes from the school board and coordinate with organizations that set parameters within the field such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA currently sets regulations for recruiters from colleges and professional teams interacting with high school recruits.
Skills and Abilities Needed by Athletic Directors
To be fully prepared for the job as an athletic director, one must have excellent skills in planning, organization, leadership. Athletic directors need to have some background in legal terminology and public relations as well. Interpersonal skills come in handy at the middle school and high school levels, when concerns from school board members or parents arise over sports team decisions or the use of athletic funds. One of the biggest challenges of an athletic director is preparing for media scrutiny. When a school handles issues of bad coaching practices, student-athlete injuries, or bad behavior from teams, the Athletic Director is responsible for answering to the public. Proactively establishing a good rapport with students, parents, coaches, school boards, and media personnel can limit the amount of media scrutiny a school experiences through their athletics. Athletic Directors excel when they are natural leaders and can work under pressure. Deadlines often loom, as Directors must finalize athletic budgets and place equipment orders in a specific timeframe for approval. Athletic Directors often answer to school principals, or directly to school boards.
Athletic Director: Educational Requirements and Salary Expectations
For those that work at a high school or middle school level, athletic directors often split their time coaching and teaching PE or health classes. A Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education or related fields is often enough to imbue the skills needed for these roles in small schools. However, it may be useful to pursue a Master’s degree in Sports Management, Organizational Leadership, or Education Administration to receive better opportunities at a large high school, college, or university level. The average salary range for an athletic director is between $50,000 to $82,000 annually. This number can vary widely depending on the type of hiring institution, how much money the athletic teams bring in, how large the booster club is, and how large the school itself is. Differences in public and private institutions can also alter the pay scale for a prospective employee interested in an athletic director’s position.
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