By Kevin Eickman
The most difficult job in high school athletics is that of athletics director. This year, after the departure of former Milford Athletics Director Ryan Winkleblech, long-time Milford baseball coach Nick Brannan threw his hat into the ring for the job. “It was something that I had been thinking about for a while, but it was also a job I thought I would look at further down the road. When the opportunity presented itself to interview for the position, I felt that at the very worst I would get the experience of the interview. Like I always have told my players, don’t be afraid to succeed,” Brannan said.
Obviously, Brannan got more than an interview, he got the job. After completing the fall sports season and halfway through the sporting year, we caught up with Brannan to see how he was settling into his new job. When asked how things were going so far, Brannan was quick to respond. “I have to say it has been a great learning experience, there are no two days that are the same and that can make it both exciting and a little stressful at the same time. One thing that you learn pretty quickly, is that there is a great deal to the job that you really didn’t anticipate,” Brannan said. “With the situation being even more fluid due to COVID, it really enhances the responsibility that you have. There is so much involved in scheduling or rescheduling a game. Are there officials available, is there transportation available and do we have support staff in place? The list of questions is endless.”
One of the job’s more fun aspects is getting to know people better, it’s not just the coaches and athletic staff, it’s communicating with athletics directors from all over Delaware. “One of the things you learn pretty quickly is that everyone puts the health and safety of their athletes first. We work as a team to ensure the games get played and it is done so safely. We all have to work together and almost without exception there is a solution that you and your counterpart can come up with to make sure that the games happen,” Brannan said.
Another aspect which Brannan is enjoying is the ability to get to see other sports up close for what is for basically the first time. Besides being the Bucs’ baseball coach, he is also an assistant coach in football. “I pretty much already had two seasons accounted for all my athletic participation, I used to take the winter season to take a little break. But now, it is something that keeps me active in sports all year long and I really like that. Getting to know the coaches better has been great and they have been so supportive of me. It has also been great to watch all the other sports that I never really had time to do, it has been great,” Brannan said.
Like any other job however, being an athletics director comes with a downside. In the case of Brannan, it is the fact that he is no longer teaching classes. “I was a teacher for 19 years and to leave the classroom was not an easy thing for me to do and there are some times when I miss it. Being able to interact with students on an individual basis is something you miss a great deal, but now I have the opportunity to see more of them in athletics so that sort of balances it out. While I am still getting used to the job, I believe that I made the correct decision in taking the job and looking forward to whatever the future brings,” Brannan said.
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