OKEMOS - Okemos High School Athletic Director, Ira Childress, is a finalist for Varsity Brands National Athletic Director of the Year Award.
Childress has been at Okemos for six years, and in those six years he has contributed a lot to the school's athletic program. He has helped start a few programs such as the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and the Okemos Athletic Hall of Fame.
"Just being selected as a finalist means a lot to me," said Childress. "It means our athletic department is looked at in high regard."
He has also contributed to the upgrading of Okemos athletic facilities, including a brand new strength and conditioning center three years ago. Okemos also added a new turf field last fall with the help of a donation of half a million dollars from a private donor.
The award is given to an athletic director that shows initiative in making sure student athletes succeed on and off the field. For Okemos that criteria has clearly been met.
"We put an emphasis on academics and educational athletics here at Okemos," said Childress. "Right now all of our varsity teams have at least a 3.5 GPA or better."
Childress said that Okemos was just ranked second in the state from an academic standpoint and that they follow suit with athletics.
Childress's time at Okemos has been very beneficial to the school but his time there will soon come to an end. He has accepted a new position as Athletic Director at Gulliver Prep, located in Pinecrest, Florida, just outside Miami.
"It's a good opportunity, just like Okemos was a great opportunity," he said.
Childress went on to say that it's going to be bittersweet when he leaves because Okemos will always have a place in his heart.
As for the fate of Okemos athletics after his departure in July, Childress says that the school will have no problem finding a new director because it's such a great job.
He also added that he is looking forward to cheering Okemos on from afar, and that, "it will be fun to watch them continue to be successful."
The award will be presented on May 11.
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