As the Dean of Students, canteen manager, and Athletic Director at Lower Richland High School, Coach Matz has a lot on his plate. He’s always on the move, but with his sharp sense for prioritizing and staying a season ahead of where he needs to be, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
as told to Romy Glazer
I’m always multitasking. When I started out, I was always the one you could count on to drop in and help. That’s how I ended up where I am now – athletic director, dean of students, and managing the canteen with our student activities department. I guess I’m the kind of person who likes to jump in to a lot of projects! It’s also how I got my start in athletic directing.
At the time, I had been coaching for 25 years, and naturally, I kind of got involved in all the other sports too, by helping the AD at the time with activities at my old school in Iowa. Then, in 2007, I moved back to South Carolina. A good friend of mine was Spring Valley’s AD, and while I worked there for the next couple years, I was unofficially his assistant AD. I was untitled, and didn’t get paid, but it was something I wanted to do to learn the ropes. I got my opportunity to take over back at Lower Richland, where I had started my career in 2012.
7am comes early. But I need to get to school around then to cover all my bases. The early down time lets me get my athletic director duties wrapped up before I need to supervise the students at 8 o’clock in my Dean of Students role. After that, it’s finding a balance with what I need to do to make sure facilities are ready for games, and making sure I have enough time for discipline.
I’ve learned that having a good sense of what to prioritize is one of the most important traits I need to keep sharp. Without it, it would be easy to become overwhelmed. I judge by the situation. What’s the one task that needs to be done first or the wheels will come off? Can I put that other thing second? I don’t have a secretary. So lots of times it is a judgement call. Make sure you have people to help you. This department isn’t a one-person show. It’s the good people around me that help things run smoothly.
You need to have a vision of what you’re doing first and foremost. Sure, you’ve got restraints based on budget, what level you’re working on, but if you set goals and prioritize, you can really get things done. This year we got our baseball field redone, the softball facility is happening soon, and we’re at a point where the basketball arena is partially done. I’ve got to always look at the next year and the next season. That’s where vision starts. I’ll start with seeing consultants if it’s a large project, then I talk to my coaches, set a budget, and hit it. If it’s something small like equipment, I can move fast. Right now I’m thinking about baseball and softball, hence the refurbishing plan. I try to stay a season ahead of what’s coming.
I really love the community here. I think this is an area that’s going to expand and be even more special than it already is soon. I’ve had a lot of years here, really enjoy working here, and have been working hard to build a strong athletics program.
For more information and to see photos of Coach Matz’s teams at Lower Richland Athletics, check out their website: http://lrathletics.org
For more tips on how to build a department of your own, with month-by-month steps to keep you organized, download the free Essential Athletic Director Checklist: http://varsitynewsnetwork.com/EssentialADChecklist