Interview with Activitites/Athletic Director Mike Durnell

The Sun interviewed Mike Durnell who has been the Bulldog activities/athletic director for five years and has announced his retirement at the end of this school year. Jeremy Barger, current baseball head coach, has been appointed to fill that position. Mike taught eighth grade math before being appointed AD. He has been in education for 28 years, 20 of those at El Dorado Springs.

Q. What is the AD’s job?

Good question. Obviously, you schedule games and you’re responsible for officials. There are a lot of pieces that go into hosting a game, so those pieces fall on me. I work closely with administration at other schools to do much of my job. I have to make sure El Dorado Springs is in compliance with MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Activities Association) rules and guidelines at all times. My office is also in charge of scheduling transportation here, whether it be buses to events or  field trips or any of the off-campus trips that you see. We kind of manage the facility for practices. There are a hundred small parts to this job that no one sees.

Q. Do the coaches work for you?

Yes and no. I kind of oversee the athletic side of their jobs. The building principals supervise the teaching side of their jobs, although the building principals and I work hand in hand to make sure the building principal is not telling them one thing and I’m telling them another.

I generally worked with the building principals on hiring coaches and teachers.

Q. Have they hired a football coach yet?

They did. And they hired a baseball coach.

Q. Is Travis Payne still wrestling coach?

He is still wrestling coach.

Q. He’s doing a good job as far as I can tell.

We are just tickled to death with him.

Q. Anything else on the AD’s job?

Some days I get involved in discipline if a principal is gone. I supervise a lot of ball games, and am busy 4-5 nights a week many weeks. The AD gets two hours of lunch supervision every day, also.

I often address parent concerns with sports and coaching. Many times, those phone calls come to me.

Q. Do you have Jeremy Barger in training?

Yes. Of course, he is still teaching until the end of the year.

I had nothing to do with the hiring of the AD or the coaches. These guys are putting together their team for next year.

So Jeremy got involved quickly. He got hired and we turned right around and had to get the head coaches positions filled.

It’s quite a process really. You have to go through applications, do reference checks and make calls on them. And while you are doing that, the rest of the job doesn’t stop. You’ve got games to schedule. You’ve got discipline to deal with. It’s quite a job.

I don’t know the football coach. I know the baseball coach, and he’s a wonderful  guy and a good coach. He’s the AD at Greenfield, the baseball coach is, so I’ve dealt with him some. He’s a straight shooter so I’m pretty excited that they got the guys that they wanted. It should be a good next year.

Q. You’re retiring at the end of the school year, aren’t you?

Yes, I’m going to teach junior high math in Kansas. That way I can draw my Missouri retirement. My wife is still the Elementary librarian here.

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