The only athletic director Wakefield High has ever known resigned late last month to focus on his battle with colon cancer.
Dexter Cooley received the diagnosis on April 24 and has been undergoing chemotherapy since. He said the chemo has gone well, but he has surgery planned on Sept. 9, prompting him to leave his post.
“Being an athletic director is not something you can do at 60 or 75 percent. You have to be at 100 percent in order to do that,” Cooley said. “I’m sure I’ll miss it to some degree but I was at that point where I needed to put myself and my family first.”
Cooley will continue teaching PE at the school while longtime assistant Rick Riggleman will be the Wolverines’ new AD.
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Wakefield opened in 2000 with Cooley, who was previously the head boys basketball coach at Millbrook, as athletic director.
In a short period of time, the school has won 12 state championships and been a powerhouse in girls track and field and boys tennis.
When other heard of the news, they’ve let Cooley know of their support.
“It’s been wonderful. I have gotten so much support from the Wakefield community, the school, coworkers and family,” Cooley said. “It’s almost unbelievable the way people have reached out to me in my time of need.”