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Sports · June 12, 2013

Dean Spahr takes over as Liberty High’s new AD

Photo/Mark Trible
New Liberty Activities Director Dean Spahr looks forward to his new job after five years as assistant AD. "I just enjoy working with people," he said. "I don't get to see many kids now so I'm looking forward to meeting more student athletes than what I'd generally meet."
Dean always handles himself with class and dignity and that’s what we want our athletes to exhibit.
— Liberty Principal Roger Lee
Dean Spahr
Age: 46

Home: Locust Grove, VA.

Job: Activities director at Liberty High School.

Experience: Eight years at Liberty H.S. as teacher and wrestling coach, served last five years as assistant AD; nine years in Stafford County schools; two years as full-time counselor at Auberle Home, a psychiatric residential treatment program in McKeesport, PA.

Education: Master’s degree, educational leadership, administration and supervision endorsement, Regent University, 2013; bachelor’s degree, special education, California University of Pennsylvania, 1995; Monongahela High School, 1985.

Family: Wife, Karyn; four children, Kathryn (21), Michael (21), Hannah (18), Kristin (18).
If you told Dean Spahr 15 years ago he’d be an activities director, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“I would’ve said, probably not,” he said. “I was a Stafford County coach and teacher, enjoying wrestling and coaching at that level; I was just happy to have a job.”

The Fauquier County School Board appointed Spahr as Liberty’s AD on May 28. He spent the last five years as new Fauquier AD Mark Holmes’ assistant.

On July 1, the Orange County resident becomes the man in charge.

“If I hadn’t sat here for the past five years, the first year would be overwhelming,” he said. “I think I did a good job as an assistant; Now, I have to gain the support of coaches, administration and parents.”

Spahr grew up in Monongahela, PA., a small city 17 miles south of Pittsburgh.

He fell in love with wrestling as a kid. A connection with coach Al Piscitelli got him hooked on the sport.

The relationship taught Spahr the value of coaching and teaching.

“I was on a pee-wee football team and he was one of my coaches before he got a job coaching wrestling,” he said. “I grew to love it; after I started wrestling, I thought it was the greatest sport in the world.

“The thing I remember about playing sports wasn’t x’s and o’s but the things I learned from coaches like having good core morals and ethics.”

Spahr wrestled between 135-65 pounds at Monongahela High School. His claim to fame is a loss to 1996 Olympic gold medalist turned professional wrestler Kurt Angle.

“I don’t know if what I did with him is what you’d call wrestling,” he joked.

After high school, Spahr joined the Navy. He worked in telecommunications before a tour of duty in Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Storm.

When he left the military, his love for helping kids pushed him to be a counselor.

From 1994-96, he counseled court-appointed youths in McKeesport, PA.

“The counseling I did was with kids who were really troubled,” he said. “Some were put in institutions from the time they were five or six until they were 18.”

In the summer of 1996, Spahr moved to Virginia to counsel Stafford County students.

His career in counseling continued until 2002 when he became North Stafford High’s special education department chair.

He came to Liberty in 2005 as a special education teacher, his position for three years before he became assistant AD.

Principal Roger Lee’s familiarity with Spahr made the hire an easy choice.

“He’s experienced here at Liberty,” Lee said. “He’s performed well in his role and was a very comfortable choice.”

Spahr cites his easy-going nature as a key to his counseling. He also thinks it will help him in the athletic department.

Lee agrees.

“I think he’s a very thoughtful person,” Lee said. “I don’t think he rushes to judgment….he analyzes things before he makes decisions and that’s important as an AD.”

The soft-spoken Steelers fan loves pingpong and gets along with most everyone in the hallways.

His personality fits the job description.

“I’m fairly easy going and I get along with people,” he said. “I enjoy working with coaches, whether that’s developing a schedule or helping them with the budget.

“I just enjoy working with people. I don’t get to see many kids now so I’m looking forward to meeting more student athletes than what I’d generally meet.”

As an assistant, Spahr took note of things he’d change if offered the job.

Holmes announced he wouldn’t return as Eagles' AD in the spring. Soon after, Spahr and his wife Karyn – the assistant principal at M.M. Pierce Elementary in Remington – decided he should go for it.

When he got the job, the 46-year-old knew he had his chance to change things.

“I’m excited and nervous,” he said. “Excited I got the job and nervous that I’ve said things I’d like to do and now I have to go out and do them.”

His first priority is continuing Liberty’s standard of athlete safety. His next order of business is looking at the athletic department’s budget.

Spahr understands complicated issues with finances are tough to grasp. He’s learning as quickly as he can.

“We have to look at how we spend our money,” he said. “In days past, we made some money here and we had a lot of people coming out.

“We made a lot of money in ticket sales. Right now, we’re doing okay. We’re not great, but we’re okay.”

Lee tabbed former technology teacher and football defensive coordinator Mike Potts as assistant AD late last week.

The duo is expected to instill goals beyond wins and losses.

“I think we have a good athletic program and I think they will do what they can to improve it,” Lee said. “Everybody loves to win but that’s not the end-all be-all.

“Overall, we want to be as successful as we can by giving our kids the most chances to participate. Dean always handles himself with class and dignity and that’s what we want our athletes to exhibit.”

Spahr will earn a salary of $68,000 in his 12-month contract.

Please, send sports news items and/or photos to Sports Editor Mark Trible: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
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