By BEN JOHNSON
Brad Gilbert’s final days as Tahlequah’s athletic director are dwindling. Now the question looms: will Tahlequah fill the void before the end of the month.
Lisa Presley believes so.
“We’re hopefully getting to the end of it,” the superintendent of Tahlequah Public Schools said of the on-going search for Gilbert’s replacement.
Gilbert’s final day as the district’s athletic director will be June 30. However, Presley hopes to have the new athletics dean appointed possibly next week.
“I anticipate having a name for the board for our Monday meeting,” she said. “But we’ve not yet made a decision on who it will be.”
As of Friday afternoon, the agenda for Tahlequah’s school board meeting on Monday included an item to grant employment to an “administrator — athletic director.” However, in the spot reserved for a name, it was left blank.
“We’ve been very thorough and have taken our time,” Presley said. “We’ve taken it very seriously.”
Gilbert told the Daily Press on May 27 that he had discussions with Tahlequah administrators about leaving his athletic director post “several months ago.” His reasoning was to spend more time at home while also being able to teach again.
“I got into the profession to teach and coach. I will stay on as a coach and teacher,” said Gilbert, who is also the district’s head football coach. “I have a nine-year-old and a six-year-old at home, and it’s hard to spend time with them."
Gilbert’s replacement will be Tahlequah’s fourth athletic director since 2008, when Mike Adams was hired. Adams was relieved of his duties in March of 2011, and Charlie Cooper — who took over once Adams left — resigned as the head football coach and athletic director in September of 2011.
Gilbert took on both roles once that happened. But he’s shedding one in a little more than two weeks.
Presley said the search for the athletic director has been a long and tireless one.
“It’s been about a month-long process,” she said. “But I think we’re about there.”
Tahlequah nearly had its decision on a new athletic director several weeks ago. That was before the district brought in potential candidates for more interviews.
“We were getting close,” Presley confirmed. “But we hadn’t finalized a decision. We re-interviewed some of the applicants again. That was good, and it was very helpful.”
In addition to naming an athletic director, Tahlequah also hopes to have a baseball coach named on Monday.
“We will have a recommendation for a baseball coach at the board meeting on Monday,” Presley said. “But it won’t be official until the board votes, of course.”
Recent Tahlequah athletic directors
Mike Adams - hired in 2008 / out in March of 2011
Charlie Cooper - took Adams' place / resigned not long after in September of 2011
Brad Gilbert - filled Cooper's role as head football coach and athletic director since 2011 / last day as the school's athletic director will be June 30