The Saratoga Sun -

Panthers get new athletic director

 

New SMHS athletic director Greg Bartlett.

Greg Bartlett, the new athletic director at Saratoga Middle-High School, is not a "paper type of person," he said, telling the Saratoga Sun his job-and his focus-is on the student athletes of SMHS.

"I'm not a "paper type of person as far as I don't like my name out there much," he said. "It needs to be about the kids and the things that they do, so feel free to mention me as little as possible."

Bartlett, who owns and operates a cattle operation with his wife Heather-a teacher at SHS- said he has been involved in high school sports for a long time. He's been involved in WHASA, the Wyoming High School Activities Association, for years. He has also worked closely with Future Farmers of America (FFA), and was involved in sports and other activities when he was in high school.

"I'm very passionate about kids succeeding and I really enjoy being around the demeanor that they bring into the schools and into their own lives," he said. "It's fun to watch them grow and develop; that's what intrigues me about the athletic director job."

Bartlett said that both athletics and academic activities like speech and debate as well as FFA are vehicles for students to develop character, work ethic and lifelong friendships, and that the ability to be involved in activities such as that was the most rewarding aspect of his new job with the school.

But another aspect he finds rewarding is how athletics and activities at the schools act as a glue to bind local residents into a stronger community.

"The small rural areas like the one we live in are based around families and with that comes following their children or students in all their activities," Bartlett said. "The more involved kids can be, the more involved their families are and it brings the community all together, and getting to know each other better."

Because so many people in the Valley have high school athletics and academic events in common, the binds of community are stronger in the Valley, he said, adding that it gives the Valley a, "closer, family feeling."

The benefits to students and the positive sense of community engendered by athletics and academic extracurricular activities are what drives him in his job, he said.

For him, success at his job as athletic director comes not from winning streaks, points accrued or state titles, but instead he measures his success at his job by the skills, leadership development and relationships students take away from the activities in which they participate. And, how much they enjoy themselves.

"I just want to see these students enjoy their time doing these things, because they leave so quickly," he said. "I want them to enjoy the opportunity they have to train, to be part of a team and to develop connections not only with their own teammates but kids from other areas as well.

"Some of those connections will last a lifetime for them."

Bartlett may be shy about his name being printed in the paper or mentioned on radio, but it's not hard to understand why. He does not want anyone in the Valley confused about what is most important to him. He wanted it made clear what is most important to him is not having his name out there.

Instead, what is most important is to make sure students have the best opportunity to compete, grow as individuals, have fun and develop meaningful, long-lasting relationships that will continue to bind communities in the Valley together for years to come.

"The interesting thing about being involved in athletics and activities is watching how student athletes and members of activities succeed, and how much joy that can bring them in their lives," he said.

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