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Soltis takes over AD duties at Bellefonte

by on October 20, 2017 7:26 AM

BELLEFONTE — Bellefonte athletic director Jimmy Soltis has been working his new job for almost four weeks now after recovering from surgery. Even though he’s still getting used to the new office and building layout, he’s already enjoying the culture.

“The people have welcomed me with open arms,” said Soltis. “It’s definitely an environment that wants to succeed. They want to see these kids have a great experience. That’s one of the reasons I’m here.

"I knew they had a vested interest in making kids better, taking things to the next level. It’s a pretty tight-knit community and athletics is a big part of it.”
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.

When Soltis noticed the open position at Bellefonte, he jumped at the idea.

“This opportunity came around,” said Soltis. “Honestly, it was a full-time opportunity, so for me it was, ‘You know what, here’s an opportunity to get back to what I love doing.’”

Coming into the job, Soltis already knows what he wants to do for the school.

“The goal is to be the premier district in Centre County,” he said. “There’s a winning culture already in place, and my goal is to make it contagious and spread it out to all the other teams. I want to make all the other districts in the area say, ‘OK, we want to be like Bellefonte.’

“The kids here have really bought into the Bellefonte mentality. It’s about this town, it’s about this community. I don’t see a lot of ‘me.’ One of the things I always say is that it’s about ‘we,’ not about ‘me.’”

Despite living a life surrounded by sports, Soltis wants Bellefonte student-athletes to focus on their futures as well as their sports.
“(My favorite thing so far has been) being able to watch kids grow,” said Soltis, “seeing the impact that sports make on kids. Knowing that maybe he’s going to be a great athlete, but he’s going to be a great citizen down the road.

“What you’re trying to do is find that kid that becomes a great citizen, has great leadership qualities. That’s the key you’re looking for. ‘How can I take this kid and move him to the next level and make him really want to advance himself, do good things and help others?’ Truly, it’s about trying to build quality people down the road.”

Soltis has also noticed how important athletics is to the community through the amount of volunteers helping out at events.

“It’s not just me, there’s a ton of people involved to make these events happen,” said Soltis. “I’ve met a lot of people that are retired that are big supporters. They could easily say, ‘Well, my kids are out of school I’m not going to help anymore,’ but a lot of the people that volunteer to help make the events run have kids that aren’t in the program anymore.”


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