Bobby Guthrie, who directed high school athletics for the Wake County School System for the past 17 years, announced his retirement Tuesday during a monthly meeting of the systems 20 high school athletic directors.
Guthrie, 60, said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family and wanted the athletic directors to be among the first to know.
It has been wonderful, Guthrie said. This is a great, great system and we have incredible kids in our schools and amazing teachers and coaches. I couldnt have asked for a better place to work.
Guthrie is known on the national level. He was nationally accredited interscholastic coach in the country and been a national advocate for professional development and certification of coaches.
The N.C. High School Athletic Association began requiring national certification of its coaches last year, but Guthries efforts already had led to hundreds of North Carolina coaches gaining national accreditation before then.
He is a national leader in coaches education, said Tim Flannery of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Bobby has worked tirelessly. He helped set the example in North Carolina and throughout the country. He has helped train more than 5,000 coaches. Bobby is just a class act.
Jack Spain, the Broughton High athletics director, said Guthrie has handled a difficult job well. Spain is the only high school or middle school athletic director in the county who was an AD before Guthrie assumed the position on August 11, 1995.
There has been tremendous change, Spain said. Looking around the room, you see ADs from Green Hope, Middle Creek, Panther Creek, Southeast Raleigh, Heritage and Holly Springs. None of those schools existed when Bobby got here.
We have had tremendous growth and expansion of the program in the county. He has had the unenviable job of hearing the concerns and complaints from our level and passing them on the administration and school board. But there was never any question that Bobby wanted whatever was best for our students.
Spain said Guthrie kept up with national issues and kept the athletics directors informed.
He was innovative and always in the forefront, Spain said. I think one way to understand his effectiveness is to look at the overall athletic success our schools have had on the state level. Across the board, in all sports, Wake County is known for its successful programs.
He has helped us have outstanding programs athletically and academically.
Guthrie came to Wake County from UNC-Wilmington, where he had been head baseball coach for 13 years. Previously, he had coached at Wilmington Laney, Wilmington Trask Middle and had worked as graduate assistant in baseball at the University of North Carolina, where he had been an infielder.
I could have remained at Wilmington, but I wanted more time with my family, just like I do now, he said.
Both of his daughters are expecting children in the spring and Guthries father died last summer.
There are some things I could be doing for my family now, he said. I need time to do those things.
Guthrie has been in education for 37 1/2 years and said it probably is time for someone with new ideas to hold his job.
New blood and new ideas are good, he said. We have new challenges ahead of us and it will be good to get some new thinking.
Dr. Ruth Steidinger, Wakes senior director of middle school programs and Guthries supervisor, said she had never seen anyone work harder than Guthrie.
He is amazing, Steidinger said. He is always available, always advocating for the children. He epitomizes knowledge and hard work.
Guthries resignation is effective on March 1.