Howard coordinator Disney is leaving for Texas

December 01, 2004|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,SUN STAFF

After serving 31 years in various education positions, the past 20 as Howard County coordinator of athletics, Don Disney announced his retirement from the Howard County school system yesterday.

He leaves behind an impressive array of accomplishments that includes the placement of athletic trainers at all 11 high schools, the upgrading of the athletic landscape for girls and an emphasis on sportsmanship and safety.

He also was instrumental in a two-year push to light stadium fields in the county.

Disney, 54, also announced he has accepted a position as coordinator of health and physical education for the El Paso Independent School System in Texas. The district has 90 schools and a school population of 70,000. The new job begins Jan. 10 and his last day here likely will be Dec. 30.

Roger Plunkett, assistant superintendent for school administration, said that an interim coordinator would be named by the end of this week and a permanent one would be in place likely by the end of January.

"Don did a fantastic job to help us develop a first-rate athletic program," Plunkett said.

Disney said that he and his wife, Caroline, have always wanted to live in the Southwest and that his wife's parents, whose health is declining, live in El Paso. Two of their four children also live in Texas.

"The match was perfect ... and those of you who know me can appreciate that I am not the retiring type and I love new adventures, the outdoors and activity," Disney said in the e-mail in which he announced his plans.

Disney leaves behind many fans.

"Don did a great job in Howard County and his contribution to the state association will live long beyond his departure," said Ned Sparks, Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association executive director.

Added Glenelg athletic director Mike Williams: "What I appreciate most about Don is that whenever he was looking to change things, he always asked what was best for the students. He didn't worry about politics or protecting his job, and didn't have an agenda that promoted himself. He promoted the students, was a person of integrity, and was always upbeat. He leaves a great legacy."

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