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June 07. 2013 11:26PM

John Habib's City Sports: Ex-West AD says city position unnecessary

If Frank Harlan had a say in the matter, he’d opt to eliminate the position of athletics director for the city’s public high schools.

“The city doesn’t need an athletic director,” said Harlan, who spent 15 years as athletics director specifically for Manchester High West, a position currently held by Sarah Dumais.

Like West, Manchester High Central and Manchester Memorial also have their own ADs, Jane Clayton and Jack Quirk, respectively, each working under city AD Dave Gosselin, who will step down when his contract expires at the end of this month.

“Today you have Sarah Dumais, Jane Clayton and Jack Quirk physically in the building watching the kids,” Harlan said. “They are more than capable of handling matters like busing, scheduling and equipment.”

Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas agrees with Harlan.

“We have the people in place who can do the job,” he said.

But as “City Hall” columnist Ted Siefer reported in this week’s New Hampshire Sunday News, city schools superintendent Tom Brennan said last week that the school board’s Athletics Committee is scheduled to discuss whether Gosselin’s successor should be full-time or part-time.

Gosselin, who retired as a teacher and coach and previously served as a full-time athletic director in Manchester, has been working on a part-time basis the last five years, making $37,000 a year.

Harlan, who headed the West athletics program from 1985-99, said the debate shouldn’t be over whether the position should be full- or part-time; rather it should be over whether the position should exist at all.

“It’s a waste of money,” he said. “When I was the athletic director at West, Dick Tilton was at Central and John Kolb was at Memorial. We taught four classes and we really didn’t have time to do all the things we needed to do. Today I believe Sarah, Jane and Jack are teaching only two classes, giving them time to do the athletic director job. Believe me, they can do the job.”

Quirk said he retired from teaching and only does the AD job at Memorial.

As for how three people can handle the budget, Harlan said, “You get what the school board gives you, and you divide the money up evenly among the three athletic directors. There’s no problem there. As for the equipment, we used to have a rotation where, as an example, Memorial would get new uniforms and equipment one year. The following year it would be West’s turn, and the next year Central would get them. The system worked, and all the hand-me-downs went to the JV and freshman programs.”

Quirk said he, Clayton and Dumais each receive $7,800 a year for the position of high school athletics director.

If the school board decides not to fill Gosselin’s post, Quirk said, the city will need to raise the compensation for the three school ADs.

“It’s only fair because we’d obviously be taking on more work and responsibility,” he said.

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ON ANOTHER school topic, Harlan praised the booster clubs for saving the city money over the years.

“Booster clubs are so important, so valuable” he said. “I remember if we had a team that needed warm-ups or jackets after winning a state title, the booster club would provide the money. They have a history of providing money the city doesn’t have to give. They’re wonderful people, many of them parents who put countless hours into making their school the best it can be.”

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TWO QUICK baseball notes to pass along: Jutras Post of Manchester will hold its American Legion baseball tryouts on Monday and Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Gill Stadium. And beginning July 26, the Manchester Babe Ruth League will host the 13-year-old New England Regional baseball tournament at Gill. Dates and times will be released shortly.

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THE Seacoast United Phantoms men’s soccer team makes its only appearance in Manchester tonight when it hosts Vermont Voltage in a Premier Development League game at 8 p.m. Youth players under the age of 18 who compete for the Manchester Soccer Club or Seacoast Express United team will receive free admission to the match at Southern New Hampshire University. Admission is $5 for adults. The Phantoms will host a children’s soccer clinic on the field at halftime.

"City Sports" appears Saturdays in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email staff reporter John Habib at jhabib@unionleader.com.


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