The times, they are a changin' in Scottsdale high school sports.
A flurry of retirements means the administration of sports at the city's schools will have almost a whole new look. Time will tell if such drastic change will have positive or negative results.
"Sometimes, change is good," said Scottsdale district athletic director Joe Corte. "I think we have capable replacements. They are going to bring in new energy."
Corte is one of the administrators who is retiring. In a way, he is retiring for the second time. Two years ago, he put one of his two hats away to begin the administrative retirement parade. He turned over the reins of the Coronado athletic director position to Nathan Slater. Now, he is stepping away from a more important position, overseeing athletics for the entire district.
"You can't replace a guy like Joe Corte," said Slater. "He knows so much. You can bet we will be calling him with questions."
Slater is partially correct about not being able to replace Corte. Because of budget cuts, Corte believes his full-time position will be changed to part-time. That likely means it will go to a school athletic director such as Slater.
While he just has two years under his belt, Slater will be one of the veteran athletic directors in the district. Saguaro's Bob Keller is retiring at the end of the school year and being replaced by longtime girls basketball coach Brent Carter. Joining Keller in retirement will be Chaparral's Jerry Dawson, who is stepping down as AD and a teacher but will continue as Chaparral's baseball coach. Dawson's replacement is Jamie Crowley, who is coming over from Desert Mountain to be Chaparral's AD and volleyball coach.
Other returning athletic directors in the district are Desert Mountain's Steve Harris and Arcadia's Jim Bevell.
Keller fears there will be a learning curve for the new administrators.
"I think it is a concern," said Keller. "The changes can be a positive; it can be a negative. Sometimes, change is healthy."
A definite concern is that all this change is occurring at a time when the 4A East Sky Region — home to all of the Scottsdale schools except for Desert Mountain — is undergoing a big change. The six-team region is expanding to eight next fall with the addition of Desert Ridge High School in Gilbert and Basha High in Chandler.
"I'm glad I don't have to think about that," said Keller. "It's not that I don't think the new people (will) do an admirable job, but they may face lots of new questions with the new teams."
Corte anticipates he will be fielding plenty of calls from ADs in the first few months of his retirement.
"Officially, I don't expect to have to do that," said Corte. "But I have told everyone I will work for golf or food."
Keller has some advice for the incoming administrators.
"Be patient," said Keller. "Be honest with everybody involved. You have to learn when to protect your own ground and when to think what is best for everybody.
"I'm sure it will all work out."