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Athletic director adjusts to new surroundings

Patrick Foley

Patrick Foley

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Mr. Dan Jones, the new athletic director, has been a part of school athletics for a long time, but a new school and new students always presents a challenge, but it is one he looks forward to.

For 15 years Jones coached football, wrestling, and track while teaching U.S. History at DeKalb High School. Jones asserts that choosing to become the athletic director at his previous school was an incredibly difficult decision.

“I had a great connection with the kids in class and in coaching. To leave that for an administrator position was pretty tough on me, but when I started the new position at DeKalb, I still tried to have that connection with students,” Jones said.

Central has a thousand more students than his previous high school. Although this is the case, Jones has already begun to meet some of the new athletes who are competing in the fall. “I am starting to get faces, and I am carrying rosters around with me.”

Working for seven years as an athletic director, Jones was able to establish this connection. “I knew all my athletes, for the most part, by name, and went to as many events as possible.” At DeKalb, he made other strides to get to know the students. He created an Athletic Director Advisory committee composed of students who decided themes for games and helped with homecoming and student council activities.

Along with new faces to put to names, Jones must also work with more sports than his previous high school. It will be his first time administering lacrosse, water polo, girls’ golf and boys’ gymnastics.

Jones is not the only change to athletics this year. The IHSA recently changed the eligibility for students competing in sports. It now determines athletes must have a passing grade in at least their classes. The previous requisite was four classes. If a students fails to meet these requirements, they will be ineligible for the rest of the semester.

“My previous school had the five class requirement, and the reason we did it was we wanted to keep students on track for graduation.” The code of conduct, however, remains the same.

Jones wants to be an approachable figure here. “I am really happy when students come to me with a concern or an issue. That way, I can be their advocate, and if I can’t help them, maybe I can find someone else who can.”

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Athletic director adjusts to new surroundings