Dave Austin is stepping down as Mohonasen’s director of health, physical education and athletics and will assume the same position at Guilderland beginning in July.
Austin guided the Mohonasen athletic department for nearly two academic years after doing the same at Maple Hill, his alma mater, over a five-year stretch.
During his stay at the Rotterdam school Austin oversaw Mohonasen’s transition from the Suburban Council to the Colonial Council, backed a lacrosse merger with Schenectady, brought unified bowling into the athletic program and pushed for John Gallo’s hiring as its football coach.
“Anyone in my position wants to do it at the highest level. That was a part of it,” Austin said. “Family played a huge role, too.”
Regan Johnson is shifting from the Guilderland athletic director position he’s held since 2012 to become the school district’s assistant superintendent for human resources.
“I was part of the interview team and we’re super excited to have Dave on board,” Johnson said. “[Friday] we will be taking a social distance tour of our facilities and we’ll work on the transition plan.”
Austin will become Guilderland’s athletic director July 1. The Guilderland school board voted him in Tuesday.
“It was not my plan to stay at Mohonasen for a short stint,” Austin said. “It’s an opportunity I didn’t think was going to happen. I had to entertain it.”
Austin said only a “Class AA-size school that preaches academics and athletics” would have swayed him away from Mohonasen. The opportunity to work at Guilderland arose when Johnson decided to change jobs. He was approved for his new position by the Guilderland school board March 10. He will begin serving in that capacity July 1.
“I called Regan before I applied,” Austin said. “Guilderland has a history for being a good athletic and academic school. I had a bunch of questions. What’s the administration like? What’s the support like? The more I heard, the more I liked about it.”
Austin said he and his wife, Jillian, had been looking for a bigger home than their current one in North Greenbush, and that their focus will now shift toward the Guilderland area.
“Our boys are getting bigger,” Austin said of 4-year-old Brady and 2-year-old Brooks. “And we’ve got some friends there.”
Austin emerged from a list of 24 candidates to become Mohonasen’s athletic director in October of the 2018-19 school year.
“We had an extremely strong candidate pool. Seven of the last eight we talked to were sitting ADs, and Dave rose to the top,” Mohonasen superintendent Shannon Shine said. “We’re hoping we have as strong a candidate pool as in the past. We’re a successful, upcoming athletic program.”
The Mohonasen athletic director position is posted and will remain so until June 6. Shine said he would prefer an AD with experience, and would like to have the position filled by July 1.
“We have a board meeting on June 22, and if all goes well, we’ll appoint then,” Shine said.
Austin took over at Mohonasen for then-interim AD Robert Stulmaker. Jason Friesen had served as the school’s AD before that for less than a full year, following a three-year stint by Matt Stein and an eight-year run by Joe Scalise.
“This is not an acrimonious split of any kind,” Shine said. “We’re pleased how he [Austin] moved us forward.”
The 35-year-old Austin will sit on the interview committee for Mohonasen’s new athletic director.
“It’s set up well for whoever comes in,” Austin said. “It’s a good school with a lot of good people. I have only positive things to say about Mohonasen.”
Johnson served as Guilderland’s assistant athletic director for five years before assuming the top AD post.
“I really enjoyed my work helping the coaches, students and teachers here,” Johnson said. “They are second to none, but it was time to consider a new challenge.”
Reach Jim Schiltz at [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.