Director of Physical Education and Athletics to retire
During his 22 years as the Fayetteville-Manlius director of physical education and athletics, Rich Roy added to the district 30 sports teams, four sports programs, and 13 athletic fields; helped pioneer the district’s curriculum mapping initiative with his physical education teachers; and created more than 2,000 athletic opportunities for students in grades 7-12.
“I always thought in our program there was the opportunity for growth and to get better. I think those things have come to fruition,” said Mr. Roy, who plans to retire June 30, at the end of the current school year.
Leaving F-M will be bittersweet. The Baldwinsville resident helped elevate the F-M athletic program to number four in the country, according to rankings released in July by ESPN RISE, now known as ESPN High School. He hired 142 of the department’s 147 employees, which include coaches, athletic trainers, physical education teachers, and the department’s office staff. And he will only have had one year before retiring to reap the benefits of the new turf field a nonprofit group recently donated to the district.
“I’m going to miss F-M and everything it stands for. I really feel the place has made me grow both as a professional and as a person,” Mr. Roy said. “It’s like moving. It’s like I’ve lived here all my life, and now I’m moving.”
Mr. Roy, 57, said the time has come to follow through on other things he’s thought about doing, such as linking local school districts and nonprofit organizations. He envisions students fulfilling their classroom community service requirements through connections he would help create.
“There is enough manpower to meet everyone’s needs. I want to create some type of clearinghouse to facilitate those needs,” he said.
Mr. Roy’s institutional knowledge will be difficult to replace, said F-M Superintendent Corliss Kaiser.
“We have been lucky to have Rich lead our staff and students to success many times over, but what’s even more important is that he has led by example and promoted characteristics such as good sportsmanship, discipline, and respect – all crucial to success in sports and life,” Dr. Kaiser said. “We will truly miss him and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”
John Rathbun, executive director of New York State Section III Athletics, said Mr. Roy’s wealth of experience and willingness to help others prompts many new athletic directors to seek him out for advice. He attributes Mr. Roy’s success to his passion for the job combined with his ability to offset the competitive nature of the athletic program with a calm, cool demeanor.
“He really has a great balance,” Mr. Rathbun said. “He really loves the school. He’s passionate about the coaches and the kids.”
And he has wicked sense of humor.
“You never know when he is joking or being serious,” Mr. Rathbun said.
F-M Athletic Trainer Terri Sherman said Mr. Roy’s wit and laughter will often diffuse the stressful nature of their jobs. Ms. Sherman, who was Mr. Roy’s first hire 21 years ago, said she feels as though she has grown professionally, which she attributes to how Mr. Roy manages his staff.
“He tells you how he wants it to go, but he puts his trust in you to do the right thing,” she said.
Jeff Hammond, who has coached the F-M boys varsity soccer team for the past 25 years, said one of Mr. Roy’s strengths is that he recognizes the value of every sports team within the department.
“He makes you feel like your program, in his eyes, is the most important,” Mr. Hammond said.
Mr. Roy takes the time to learn the names of many of the student athletes, attends a variety of practices and games, and always has an open door for his staff, Mr. Hammond said.
Tracey Spicer, Mr. Roy’s secretary for three years, said he was always supportive and approachable.
“He really knows his stuff,” said Spicer, who now works in the F-M Business Office. “He has a real passion for what he does.”
Recognizing the value of athletics, Mr. Roy expanded the department so there are more student athletic opportunities. There used to be only one modified sports team for each sport open to all students in grades seven, eight, and nine. That structure allowed only 15-30 students total to participate, depending upon the sport. Now, each middle school has its own sports team, as do the freshmen at the high school, giving 75 more students opportunities to participate.
Being involved in extracurricular activities such as sports typically translates into academic success, Mr. Roy said. Students involved in athletics develop self-discipline, goal setting skills, motivation to be leaders, and the ability to work as part of a team. They also learn to deal with success or failure on a public stage, he said.
“I think these attributes are something that can help kids in their lives. Athletics is a living laboratory for life,” he said. “It’s more than a game. It’s about the journey to get to the game.”
F-M Director of Physical Education and Athletics, 1990-present (retirement planned for June 30, 2012)
Section III Athletics, President, 2004-2006
Onondaga High School League, President, 1995-1997
Hannibal School District, athletic director, 1987-1990
Rondout Valley School District (Accord, NY), physical education teacher; coached boys varsity basketball, 1981-87; boys varsity track, 1978-87; boys and girls cross country, 1978-1986
SUNY Oswego, Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration, 1990
SUNY New Paltz, Master of Science Degree in Educational Administration, 1980
SUNY Cortland, Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education, 1976
Fulton High School, 1972