Durango High School’s athletics department has endured a tumultuous three-year period during which the school has seen more than 12 varsity coaches leave and now is welcoming its third athletic director in as many years. Dave Preszler, with a lengthy local résumé in managing athletic programs, is an excellent pick to steady the DHS ship and return critical stability to the school’s sports endeavors.
Preszler comes to Durango School District 9-R from Bayfield High School, where he had served as athletic director and assistant principal for the last eight years. Before his Bayfield tenure, Preszler was athletic director at Fort Lewis College for five years, during two of which he was the college’s head football coach. This comprehensive background in high school and college athletics in La Plata County prepare Preszler well for stepping quickly and effectively into his role at DHS. The school’s athletics program is in need of such leadership.
Preszler replaces Roxanne Perrin, who was athletic director for less than one year. Her predecessor, Sheldon Keresey, left the position he had held since 2006. Keresey’s final years at the helm were punctuated by the departure – through both resignations and dismissals – of more than 12 varsity coaches. While the reasons for such attention-grabbing turnover vary, the success and continuity of the school’s 19 sports programs depends upon a baseline of consistency in coaching from season to season. That has been elusive in recent years.
During Perrin’s short stint at DHS, she oversaw five new head coaches in the fall sports season, one in the winter, and two new varsity spring sports coaches. Ensuring that new coaches transition effectively into their roles is a critical function of a school’s athletic director – it should not be the primary task each season.
Preszler also should be able to turn his attention to building strong community support, reaching out to athletes outside DHS walls to add to the school’s teams, working with community athletic programs to build partnerships and advocating for DHS athletics at the Colorado High School Activities Association – the governing body for high school sports.
In addition, athletic directors must deal with athletes and their parents, ensuring that the high school sports environment is healthy and supportive. That can be a foreboding challenge of perspective when a student or his parents perceive the team environment to be otherwise. Maintaining harmony and a standard of fairness as well as excellence requires a deft hand. Preslzer’s record indicates he possesses such skill.
Durango High School’s athletics program, turnover notwithstanding, is impressive and has room to become formidable. Dave Preszler is well-positioned to usher the school into an era of great success.