Ask the AD - Dan Cunningham, North Hagerstown High School

This summer, CSZ will be doing a segment on the WICKipedia entitled "Ask the AD". In this feature, we'll be conducting Q&A's with various athletic directors around Maryland to learn more about how different high schools run their athletic programs, and what to expect from them in the future.

Today we're featuring Dan Cunningham, the new AD at North Hagerstown High School in Washington County! During our conversation, Dan spoke with us about his time at Williamsport High School, and his excitement at becoming the athletic director at his alma mater.

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County Sports Zone:You just took the job at North Hagerstown after being at Williamsport for two years. How did this new opportunity come about?

Dan Cunningham:When North Hagerstown's longtime AD Marcia Nissel retired, her and I talked and we thought it would be great for me to come back home to North Hagerstown. Marcia was my mentor for many years at North.

CSZ:How excited are you to now be the athletic director at your alma mater?

DC:It is a dream come true to be back home. Having the opportunity to work and direct the programs that have influenced me so much in life, words just can't describe it.

CSZ:What will you miss most about working at Williamsport? How tough of a decision was it to leave?

DC:It was extremely difficult to leave Williamsport. The administration was tremendous. Williamsport has a solid group of coaches that're teaching life lessons through athletics. I truly enjoyed my time at Williamsport. I will miss the student athletes, school secretary Karla Chambers, and head girls basketball coach Kevin Murphy the most- they are great people with a great sense of pride for their school and community. Karla and Kevin were tremendous supporters and will be missed.

CSZ:What do you enjoy most about being an AD?

DC:I enjoying watching the student athletes compete day in and day out. I also love the aspect of organizing schedules, officials, transportation, and interacting with all the athletic teams. Also, the fact that I am able to deal with athletics every day. Watching the student athletes grow and mature and venture off to college. I love when my former players come back and check in.

CSZ:What're a couple things you look for in a coach?

DC:I want a coach that is passionate about their sport and willing to teach more than the ins and outs of their specific sport. I look for positive role models, coaches that think outside the box and coaches that will capture and maintain their student athletes. Knowing the game is one thing, but knowing your athletes is the biggest asset. I don't want talkers, I want doers.

CSZ:How do you view the role of the athletic director in a high school community?

DC:The role changes from community to community. North is the largest school in Washington County. Not only being visible, but being able to listen to the community is key. You might not always agree with what is being relayed to you, but you have to give each and every person your time. You can never be too busy for anyone.

CSZ:Is there anything exciting or new we should be on the look out for from North Hagerstown's athletic department?

DC:It's the start of a new season, new coaches, a fresh start. Another year mature and the opportunity to reach new goals. Each year brings new excitement within our buildings and as the athletic director, you get to watch everything unfold and those students achieving their goals.
August 8th, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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