Ryan Nolan has been taking advantage of his summer break.
“It’s been busy, crazy with all of the (success) of the programs,” he said with a smile. “It’s been nuts, but it’s been enjoyable.”
Nolan enjoyed a successful first season as the Clark County’s athletics director, and didn’t catch his breath until late last month. During the last academic school year, George Rogers Clark captured two 10th Region championships, three 40th District titles and participated at the state level in boys basketball, cross country, swimming, baseball, track and field and tennis.
Before being hired as athletics director for Clark County Public Schools last fall, Nolan was aware of the tradition at George Rogers Clark High School. In his first full season, Nolan watched as the boys basketball team reached the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2007 and witnessed the baseball team’s first-ever trip to the state baseball tournament.
“We’re knocking in the state tournament door every year in every sport,” he said. “We have a lot of respect throughout the state. We have some of the classiest players, and that shows the professionalism that we’re trying to achieve. As a player growing up and a coach, I always knew that Clark County athletics (had) a top-notch program. If you beat George Rogers Clark, you’ve accomplished something. Now to be part of Clark County and to (know) that people are shooting for us, that’s exciting to be part of.”
Behind the scenes and off the field, Nolan has became acquainted with the guidelines of the Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) and with all of the coaches in the county.
“On Friday night, all people see is four quarters of football,” he said. “They don’t see the preparation at 4 p.m., with lining up buses, making sure officials are at the game, checks are ready and make sure we have workers. There’s a whole lot that goes into it prior to when the game starts. There are a of things that go into it.”
During his first season, Nolan took a “wait and see” approach before putting his own stamp on the newly-created position.
“One thing I wanted to do (last year) was to just observe and see how each (athletic) season runs, so I would have a better understanding (this year) and build on that,” he said.
Nolan has began preparing a coaches’ handbook to help streamline communications between the coaches at all levels and the administration. The handbook will be similar to the one used by the Kentucky School Board Association.
“We have board policies in place, and the KHSAA¿has 33 bylaws already. What the handbook is doing is if I have a question about transportation to an off-campus site, I don’t have to pick up the phone and call someone or search the Internet to try and figure it out. I can go straight to the handbook and find out what our district policies are on transportation. It’s already in hand and takes the guess-work out it and allows our (coaches) to be more efficient. It’s all (going to be) in one place.”
Nolan also has also developed a friendship with the coaches in all levels, especially at the high school.
“We have some great, great coaches,” he said. “It’s evident not only with on-the-field accomplishments, but it’s also how they carry their teams and what they expect out of their players. In the classroom, I’ve had coaches call and check on grades. As we go (forward), a lot will come to me (as far as) what I expect our coaches to hold the players accountable for. The very first thing I stressed was academics.”
Nolan knows what to expect this fall and is anxious to hit the ground running again.
“The future is bright, and everyone wants to be part of it,” he said. “If the expectations are set high, the kids are going to shoot to reach them.”