South bids farewell to long time athletic director

Genoa Scott, Staff Writer

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Sanders will be moving to Tarpon Springs, Florida where, for the past year, Sanders family has been caring for his father- in- law in his declining health. While in Florida, Sanders will be taking a job as a director for a youth sports complex.

Sanders began working at South approximately 17 and a half years ago. Since then, for the athletic department, his job has entailed hiring coaches, arranging staff for sporting events, organizing staff, paying for new equipment and amenities, and making sure that all players are eligible to play.

Along with the jobs he did for the athletic department, Sanders explained that his work extended to other parts and events at South, such as “helping out with the blood drives, or when people need to use the sound system, or working different events here at South,” noted Sanders.

He has worked hard for South and it’s community. A few key contributions Sander’s has made to south are the snack shack for football games, a new weight room, and the dance studio.

“I feel good about the job I did here at South,” commented Sanders.

Lynn Heldt has worked as the athletic secretary at South for 11 years, meaning she has spent a lot of time with Sanders. Before that she worked under Sanders at games in the snack shack during basketball games. “Working with Mark is a pleasure, he’s fun to work with  he expects work to get done and he’s a very caring, very easy person to work with,” commented Heldt. “I much he cares about the kids in sports…[he would] go the extra mile for any kid in this building.”

Along with the other staff members in the Athletic Office, Heldt explained that Sanders has “helped to pay a fee when a student can’t or make sure a student has shoes.”

Heldt went on to talk more about the “very, very fun times” she and  Assistant Athletic Director Tony Stewart have had with Sanders. “It’s always light in here. Yes we have had some serious days where things have happened, like losing Sha-kym, but he’s very easy to work with if you do your job.”

In order to honor their friend and coworker’s departure from South a goodbye reception for Sanders was held in the South commons on January 28th. Festivities went on from 3:30-6; food was available and some staff members spoke about Sanders’ time at South.

According to Heldt, “he’s got great vision to see a future for this school and things that he would like to accomplish, which he has, and things that he’s not finished. We’re still working on them.”

One of the things Sander’s had been pushing for are lights for the football field so South soccer and football teams can play night games. In the past few years he has worked to make a few night games possible per year by renting lights, but hopes in the future they can become a permanent part of the South field. These are projects that could potentially be continued by his successor.

In an effort to find a new athletic director, a special panel has been put together, consisting of two students, two coaches, two people from human resources, and someone from the school district. This panel is responsible for the first round of interviews for prospective athletic directors. From this panel, candidates will move on to another round of  interviews with Principal Ray Aponte and Trent Tucker, recently hired district athletic director. A new athletic director will hopefully hired in time to facilitate the spring sports season.

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