Long Hours, Low Pay Wear Down Dedicated Athletic Director


May 15, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

When someone as dedicated to his job as Tim McMullen announces his resignation as athletic director at Broadneck High School, it's about time that the Board of Education wakes up to a very serious problem.

McMullen announced Monday night that he would be stepping down as the Bruins' athletic director at the end of this year. He has been the only athletic director the Cape St. Claire school has had since it opened with a 10th grade in the fall of 1981.

Simply put, the 45-year-old McMullen is tired of being pushed around by the Board of Education while busting his butt to perform a full-time job in part-time hours and at a salary less than minimum wage,considering the number of hours he puts in.

McMullen wants more time with his three children, Erin, 6, Tim, 4, and Eddie, 2, and he can't when he's home doing his athletic director's job because there is not nearly enough time to do it during school hours.

Named Anne Arundel County Sun Athletic Director of the Decade for the '80s, McMullen built the Bruins' athletic program from the ground floor up intoone of the county's very best. From top to bottom, the Bruins' program is solid and very competitive.

He says he will be happy coaching junior varsity baseball and

teaching history, but after being soinvolved in running the Bruins' program, this is going to be quite an adjustment for McMullen and Broadneck.

"It was back in February on the way to a basketball game with Mr. (Lawrence) Knight (school principal and the man who hired McMullen after their association at Arundel Junior High in the '70s) that I first told him I was thinking ofstepping down after this year," McMullen said. "He told me to think about it, and I did. I've made my decision, and the vacancy will be advertised this week.

"I intend to stay very interested in the program and don't think things will change that much because at Broadneckeverybody pitches in. Some coaches have tunnel vision and think onlytheir team matters. That's not so at Broadneck, and I'm pretty proudof that."

In just about a decade, it's remarkable how well the overall Broadneck athletic program has done under McMullen. More than 10 state championship banners and scores of county and regional titleshave been won. Broadneck won three All Sports Championships for schools under Class 4A and has taken third place every year, behind Severna Park and Old Mill, since becoming a 4A school three years ago.

Those things are impressive and mean a lot to McMullen, but he's proudest of "the coaching staff we have put together and how well they work as a unit, and the number of kids participating in athletics in a school ninth in size out of 12 in the county."

But running such a county high school athletic program has taken its toll on McMullen. He's had enough and is getting out with his wits and good health, unlike some others.

"It's absolutely ludicrous that the people at the Board of Education give us just a 55-minute planning period to run a full-time athletic program," he said.

McMullen's bitter not at thecounty coordinators of physical education -- Paul Rusko and Jean Boyd -- but at "the lay members of the board, because they really don't understand what the job consists of."

"We get no recognition at all from the board, and that's too bad."

It sure is, because when you get right down to it these guys are slaves to the system, and I'm surprised so many of them stay at it as long as they do. County athletic directors are truly the unsung heroes of high school sports.

Todo an efficient job, athletic directors put in at least 14-hour days, taking the job home with them. Arriving at school at 7 to 7:30 a.m.each day and not leaving until 5 or 6 p.m. is common.

After a dinner at home, phone calls have to be made, and those calls might to bestaff coaches, other athletic directors, officials, members of the media, parents and even student-athletes.

Such paperwork as maintaining records for every team and keeping tabs on physical exams and parental permission forms for the student athletes has to be handled. And of course, it seems like a report has to be done on nearly everything from player eligibility to ticket receipts.

Some nights, quarterly gatherings with fellow athletic directors, meetings with boosterclubs, state organizations and other school activities have to be attended.

In the fall and spring, outdoor sports often are postponedbecause of bad weather, and a couple of years ago, Arundel athletic director and head baseball coach Bernie Walter figured out that it takes about 54 minutes to make all the necessary phone calls.

Coaches, referees, administrators, ticket-takers, cheerleading coaches, band directors, concession stand operators, the police and the media have to be notified. The 54 minutes is equivalent to the time allowed for a planning period, so anything else that has to be done that day will have to go home with the athletic director.

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