EAST LIVERPOOL - East Liverpool athletic director Bob Shansky will be honored Friday during the Eastern Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association's Annual Spring Conference at the Atwood Yacht Club.
Shansky has been named as recipient of the 2014 State Award of Merit by the EOIAAA. The state award is presented on an annual basis in recognition of meritorious service, leadership and special contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local and state level.
He was originally scheduled to be honored Thursday evening at the athletic directors' annual spring conference, but the ever-busy Shansky is also the director of the musical "Annie", which premieres that evening at ELHS, resulting in the change of plans.
"I am very pleased to be honored by my peers," said Shansky, who is completing his seventh year as the head of the Potters' athletic department.
In addition to his athletic department duties, he also teaches three classes, including Advanced Government and Advanced Psychology.
"In class, I see them as students, and then when I am at the athletic events, I see then in an entirely different light," Shansky said. "I try to continually emphasize the importance being student-athletes. I enjoy interacting with our students."
Being at the helm of an athletic department that sponsors 22 high school sports utilizing six off-campus sites in addition to East Liverpool's sprawling campus, requires a great deal of organization and a huge time commitment.
"Athletes work very hard and put in long days. As students, they take seven classes, take part in athletics and also participate in the many clubs and organizations that we have here at East Liverpool," Shansky said. "In my mind, no sport is minor. All athletes must feel that their sport, and he or she, as an individual, is important. I try to get to as many events as I can. If they are willing to do all that, I should be willing to go above and beyond for them."
Shansky was quick to praise the building administrators who have willingly assisted him in supervising events.
"Fortunately, I have always been supported by our building administrators. Jack Cunningham, when he was high school principal, our current high school principal Randy Taylor, Jay Kiger, who was my predecessor and is now an assistant principal, as well as assistant principal Bryan Burson who was a coach, all understand what is going on and help to cover. Our junior high athletic director Quinny Carter is always willing to help out. They have always been available to help when asked."
Being situated adjacent to two state boundaries and at the upper end of the Ohio Valley and the Eastern District makes long trips a fact of life for the Potters. That should change some in the coming months.
"We try as much as possible to play local teams and Ohio Valley Athletic Conference teams," Shansky said. "With us joining Buckeye Eight Athletic League, we won't be doing as much traveling. Within a year or two, our fans will start to understand who, and where, our opponents are."
Membership in the Buckeye Eight, will provide the Potters with four football games and eight games/matches in most of the other sports, but it will still require quite a bit of work to round out the schedules for the 22 athletic teams.
"Scheduling was a real factor in the beginning, which is one of the reasons that it was important for me to attend athletic director conferences and network with other athletic directors from around the state," Shansky said. "But there is much more to being an athletic director than just scheduling. I have always operated under the belief that I need to represent the coaches and the athletes to the best of my ability and I have tried to do that. I am very humbled to be recognized by my peers. This was a total surprise to me."
One of only six athletic directors so honored this year in the state of Ohio, Shansky will now be considered for national recognition.