Honestly, I’ve only been an AD for 6 years, but I could probably write a 10 chapter book on this topic! I’ve narrowed down to 3 keys.
I think the second key or top to get along with your AD is to:
2. Understand the BIGGER picture
Your program is only one of many, many programs on campus.
I’m not just talking about athletics; I’m talking about the choir program, and wood shop program, and performing arts program, and the band program and the ASB. I have worked with coaches who think that there program is the ONLY one on campus that matters.
And I’ve been guilty of that myself before I became an Athletic Director, when I was a Head Football Coach. MY program was the MOST important one on campus!
Your AD is being pulled in a LOT of different directions!
One way you can get along well with him is by understanding your program is one of many on campus. Sometimes, his hands are tied, and he simply cannot help you with your request because there is a conflict with the glee club. The vice principal overseeing that club is fighting for her group just like your AD is fighting for you.
But sometimes he has to lose battles, and sometimes administrators over him make decisions that negatively impact YOUR program in order to help another one. What you need to realize when this happens is that your program is just a small piece of the pie. Remember that, and help your AD out by understanding that, and not being a pain in his rear about something that didn’t work out in your favor for the sake of another program.
Remember this about his or her time as well. Although you might have time in your day to drop by his office just to hang out before your practice begins, he might have forty five things to do that afternoon.
Remembering the big picture will help you to help your AD.
Let’s say you are a Fall sport coach. Can you help your AD out at a few basketball games during the winter? Or maybe run the clock at some baseball or softball games in the Spring? You have no idea how just volunteering a few hours out of season to support your AD accomplish his BIG picture job will do for your relationship.
Chris Fore is a veteran high school football coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He earned his Masters’ degree in Athletic Administration, and is a Certified Athletic Administrator with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators’ Association. Follow @coachfore on Twitter. Please visit www.eightlaces.org to see the various athletic manuals he has published.