Santos tapped as new AD

For Ed Santos, the days of wearing shorts and T-shirts to work are over.

Starting July 1, the 17-year teacher/coach entered the world of dress slacks, button-down shirts and ties, all of which are the normal attire for the athletic director of the state’s largest high school.

Santos, who has been the South Kitsap cross-country and/or track and field coach for the last 17 years, was chosen last week to succeed the retiring Steve Reischman, who worked at South for 31 years in some capacity.

“The most difficult part of this...will be wearing real clothes,” Santos joked as he sat behind his future desk.

Santos was one of 13 applicants for the position and was one of five interviewed by a committee put together by SK principal Dave Colombini.

The committee, made up of Colombini, South coaches D.J. Sigurdson, Chad Nass and Kathy Ballew, along with Greg Roberts from the district personnel office, a parent and a few others, interviewed three in-house candidates and two from outside the district.

Those in-house that interviewed included Santos, dean and assistant football coach Eric Canton and Pat Olsen from the school’s athletic medicine department.

“I think the committee felt like Ed was the best fit for South Kitsap High School and the community,” Colombini said. “Ed will do a very good job.”

Reischman’s last official day on the job was June 30, but he will be available to Santos during the summer to answer questions and get him situated.

Santos, who wrapped up his cross-country camp last week, jumped right in, starting his duties on Friday.

“There are so many little things involved with this job,” Santos said. “And being a former head coach for all those years, (I know) there are a few things that you want to make sure that go right for your coaches.”

Santos knows all too well the horror stories about buses being late to pick up teams, games starting at different times than the coach was told, eligibility issues, scheduling problems and everything else that is involved in the AD job.

“Your real goal as an athletic director is to make it as easy on your coaches as you can,” Santos said. “The people you are really centering around are your student-athletes. You want them to have the best experience they can. So my job is to make it as easy on the coaches as I can so they can just coach their kids.”

Santos originally said he would not pursue the position but after a few long runs and a talk with his wife, he decided the time was right.

“I decided to throw my name into the hat and give it a shot and see what happens,” Santos said. “I went into it with the attitude that if I get it, wonderful. If I don’t, I’m OK there, too.”

Santos has been one of the more successful coaches at South, taking the girls cross-country team to 16-straight state meets, including a state title in 1997, while the boys team has run at the state meet 13 times in the past 16 years.

“I was very happy coaching. The hardest thing I had to do was tell my cross-country kids at camp (Tuesday night) that I wasn’t going to coach,” Santos said. “I was very, very happy coaching.”

Santos replaces Reischman, who leaves South Kitsap after a 31-year career that began as a student-teacher and coach. He was the school’s AD the past seven years and turned the position what it is today, a full-time job.

“It’s really hard to follow someone like Steve,” Santos said. “But it’s really also easy to follow someone like Steve because he’s so organized and the help he’s given me already will help me sleep a little bit better than I have been.

“With Steve’s help, I think I will be OK,” Santos said. “But the learning curve is steep.”

Although there was talk of spreading the AD duties between more people, as it was in the past, the position will stay as it has been for the past three years, with one minor change. Instead on answering to a district employee, Santos will answer to Colombini.

But more importantly to Santos is his desire to stay in contact with the kids, something that will be harder to do now.

“One of my goals is to still have contact with the kids,” he said. “I like kids and I like being involved with kids. I feel that I communicate well with kids and hopefully I’ll still be able to impart some knowledge and have some interaction with the kids.”

One of Santos’ first orders of business will be to replace himself as the cross-country coach and fill a few assistant coaching position on the football, volleyball, girls basketball and wrestling teams.

“Summer is over,” Santos said. “It was the shortest summer vacation in history. But it all comes down to the kids. I want them to have the best experience possible through athletics. That’s my goal.”

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