Deran Coe, the son of a Pennsylvania high school coach, gets excited when he talks about the value of high school athletics.
He has been around high school athletics for all of his 36 years and when he extols the benefits of interscholastic sports, his words come faster and louder.
Coe got a new platform for his philosophy on Tuesday when he was named Wake County Schools athletics director. He will oversee interscholastic sports and middle school athletics. He succeeds Bobby Guthrie who will retire on March 1.
Having a greater sphere of influence is why he pursued the job, Coe said.
As a coach and even as an athletic director, you only can impact so many kids, Coe said. I look at the future of high school athletics and I see opportunities where I can make a contribution on the local, state and even national levels.
Coe has been the athletics director at Wake Forest-Rolesville High, where he also coached boys and girls soccer, since 2010. He came to Wake Forest from nearby Franklinton High, where he was athletics director and boys and girls soccer coach.
His journey in athletic administration began when he was hired as a kindergarten teacher at Youngsville Elementary School in January 2000. Franklinton High soon asked him to start its boys and girls soccer programs.
He later taught and coached at Franklinton and became the athletics director at the Franklin County School before moving to Wake Forest-Rolesville, one of the largest high schools in the state.
He had planned to become a principal eventually, but when Guthrie announced his retirement, Coe saw another opportunity. There are challenges in the future for high school athletics and I think I can contribute, Coe said. I think I can have some input.
The excitement is apparent in Coes voice when he talks about students playing athletics for their community and their school.
There is something special about that, he said. To go out and be the face of a community. To have your friends in the stands and to have a chance to represent them. To compete for your school and your community. Thats really special.
People in Cary might form their opinion about the people in Wake Forest based on how the Wake Forest players and coaches conduct themselves, he said. The athletes are ambassadors for not only the school and community, but for high school athletics.
Coes father coached baseball, golf and basketball at Aliquippa (Pa.) Hopewell High. Two of Coes brothers majored in sports management and have been involved with professional sports teams.
Coe said he grew up hearing about high school standouts Sean and Archie Miller at nearby Blackhawk High. Coe remembers the brothers coming to his elementary school Sean did a basketball ball-handling routine and the younger Archie had a juggling demonstration with tennis balls.
Coe knows hell have some juggling to do as the athletics director of a system with 22 high schools and dozens of middle schools.
If I could give him any advice, it would be to be accessible, Guthrie said. There are so many stakeholders at so many levels, but they all deserve their say.
Coe said Guthrie had been a great athletics director. The outgoing athletics director is known on the national level and has been on the forefront of continuing education for coaches. Guthrie has served on several national committees and has been a resource to the National Federation of State Associations.
I want to be the advocate for high school athletics that Bobby has been, Coe said.
Guthrie said Coe is a great athletic administrator.
Im leaving the post in good hands, Guthrie said.