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Bellefonte Athletic Director Steps Down

by and on January 11, 2019 11:45 AM
Bellefonte, PA

BELLEFONTE — After a little more than a year on the job, Bellefonte Area School District Athletic Director Jimmy Soltis has stepped down in order spend more time with his family. His last day was on Monday, Jan. 7, when the school board accepted his resignation. 

He said it was bittersweet leaving a strong athletic program. But with a 16-year-old son who is involved in his own after-school activities, Soltis did not want to give up being able to see his son in his high school career.

“It was a tough decision. The athletes here are great and we have a really strong staff,” said Soltis. “But in the end it wore me down, trying to juggle my schedule and my son’s activities.

“Seeing my son play his high school career is something that is important to me and I won’t be able to get back once it passes.”

Soltis said the job has been posted and he is unsure what direction the school will go next, but he is proud of the achievements the athletes have made while he was in charge — a district championship football team in 2017, as well as other district championships, including boys’ soccer and softball.

While he was athletic director, Soltis also saw growth in the department with the construction of Rogers Stadium and the addition of lacrosse as a varsity sport on the girls’ and boys’ sides.

Superintendent Michelle Saylor said the district was aware that Soltis would be stepping down prior to the holiday break and had posted the position. So far, the district has received 15 applications that are being reviewed.

In the meantime, Pleasant Gap Elementary School Principal Daniel Besch will serve as the interim athletic director. Besch served as interim director before Soltis was hired.

Saylor said she understands why Soltis is leaving, but said she is disappointed because, “he was doing some wonderful things for our athletes and really building the program.”

Saylor added that Soltis did a great job of looking toward the future for the athletes in the school and building an even more positive culture in the athletic department. She said they will look for another athletic director to keep the momentum moving forward.

Saylor said she expects things to transition smoothly and that everything for the winter sports season is in place. She said the athletic director is a job with difficult hours because most sports events take place after the school day, so she understands that it can be a difficult thing to juggle with a family.

“He was a wonderful AD and we wish him the best,” said Saylor.

Soltis has been active in the sporting world his whole life, playing soccer for Philipsburg-Osceola in high school and then for Slippery Rock University. After college, he worked with D.C. United of Major League Soccer as RFK Stadium’s facility and event manager, as well as in a wide variety of other jobs and volunteer work surrounding sports. He worked in technology sales for 15 years or so before he took the job at Bellefonte.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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