Kenny Deatherage has been connected with Triad High School for half his life as a student, athlete, teacher and coach.
That association will continue as an administrator now that Deatherage, 35, has been named the school's new athletic director.
A 1997 graduate of Triad who rushed for more than 1,000 yards during his junior and senior seasons, Deatherage replaces Jeff Faulkenberg, who retired at the end of the school year.
"I was an intern in the office this past year, and the majority of my duties were working with Jeff," Deatherage said. "I did have some assistant-principal duties, too, where I dealt a little bit with discipline. But the majority of my time was spent with Jeff.
"I don't know if I was being groomed for the job, but I knew, with Jeff retiring, there would be an opportunity. I let several people know I would be interested in the job if it was available. I think that was one of the reasons why I was picked as an intern to help out in the office, get my feet wet and get some experience."
Deatherage's familiarity with Triad, and his co-workers, should make for a smooth transition. He also has formed relationships with other coaches and athletic directors in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
"I know the faculty, I know our coaches and I know, pretty much, all our facilities," he said. "And Jeff has been tremendous as far as helping me along the way. He and I have spent some time together this summer trying to go over as many details as possible. Jeff's been awesome with that, so hopefully it will be a smooth transition and I can do things half as well as Jeff's been doing them for the last seven years."
Deatherage complimented Faulkenberg's organizational skills, which are necessary for all athletic directors. Deatherage also said he will rely heavily on his secretary, Karen Howard.
"I, too, have a business education background like Jeff had. I was pretty organized in the classroom and I think that will carry over into the office as well," said Deatherage, who earned his bachelor's degree in business education, with an accounting emphasis, from then-McKendree College in 2001 before attaining his master's degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in 2008.
Deatherage's new position means he no longer will coach or teach. He was the junior-varsity baseball coach in the spring after having worked several seasons as an assistant football coach, and he's taught accounting and consumer education for 13 years.
"The students are one of the main reasons I got into this profession anyway," Deatherage said. "I'm really going to miss being in the classroom day in and day out. I enjoyed having those relationships with those kids. It will be different; it will be strange."
Deatherage and his wife, Ashleigh, have two sons: Dawson, 5, and Dayton, 3.
"I'm set right where I'm at," Kenny Deatherage said. "I'm not looking to do anything else; I'm not looking to go anywhere else. Triad has been my home for a long time and I feel very blessed to have this position right now."