Decatur Athletics on the Rise
The Decatur High School Athletic Department has seen a lot of change over the past two years. They hired a new athletic director and brought in new head coaches in order to try and turn around a struggling program.
“When I got here it was a dead environment.” Said Athletic Director John Unger. “The facilities were old, your practice gear was non-existent, your game gear was non-existent, your helmets were old, we didn’t have basketballs, it was kind of like a throwback to the old days. You just didn’t have the overall things that should be in place for an athletic department to be successful.”
And right from the start Unger began to turn the department around. He revamped the facilitates, the equipment, the uniforms and most importantly the athletic culture.
“The first thing is setting a good culture.” Stated Unger. “If you can set that good culture among all sports, and if all coaches have the same philosophy and the same ideas of wanting what’s best for the kids and the programs, then that’s going to grow into a belief and a behavior pattern that we think is going to be a championship type atmosphere”
That positive atmosphere is proving to help all aspects of the athletic department. The athletic participation rate is at an all-time high, which is allowing the school to be more competitive and makes the students proud to be a part of it.
“You want to work and show them that there is something better out there.” Said Shane Holland, Decatur head football coach. “This can be a place they can be proud of. One goal of mine is to try and help build this into a program and a school system that the kids can be proud of. They can go out and say I graduated from Decatur, I played at Decatur and I’m proud of it”
That sense of pride is vital for an athletic department to flourish. Athletic Director John Unger has a message for everyone, “we aren’t the old Decatur. Things are changing, we follow the rules, we have good athletes, we have good coaches, we are doing things the right way. We play hard, we are going to win championships, we are here to compete, and we are a good school.”