Gabbard named athletic director at Como-Pickton

By JOSEPH ELERSON | News-Telegram Sports Writer

Feb. 14, 2007 - COMO - The Como-Pickton ISD found its new athletic director from within on Monday when girls basketball coach Devin Gabbard was appointed to the position.

Gabbard, appointed by the CPISD Board of Trustees, succeeds Joe Ryzman, who is now the assistant secondary principal.

"It is a unique opportunity because it shows that the board thinks a lot of me. I appreciate that and it is an opportunity to lead and to see a program grow," Gabbard said. "Coach Ryzman has done a great job here and there are not a lot of changes that need to be done. We need to be able to find people to make the program continue to grow."

Gabbard said finding ways to juggle the many areas he is involved in right now is a challenge, but with key help the transition will be easy. Currently, he is the middle school volleyball coach, the head girls basketball coach, the boys soccer coach, track coach, the athletic director and teaches a class during the day.

"Time-wise, it is a big challenge, and that is what we talked about on Monday. I have to cheat some areas right now because I have so many duties at this point," he said. "When you have key people that help you during classes in Coach (Frances) Mowat, I can come in and do some athletic director stuff and she understands that."

Gabbard said working along side Ryzman during his first two years at CPHS gave him the confidence to accept the position.

"Coach Ryzman was a great person to work with. He would give you enough rope to run with and do some thing and give you some freedom, but he would also check up on you and made sure you took care of things," he said. "He was more of a mentor than a boss and that put me in a position where I could make this step and be comfortable with it."

He said his first action as athletic director will be to find a new football coach to replace Ryzman, whose team went 0-10 last season.

"I am not sure what the time-line is on hiring new coaches," Gabbard said. "We are hoping to fill that position as quickly as possible and we want it to be a boys coordinator and football coach. That is the direction that we are going to head with that position.

"The board wanted to take care of the AD position first and then we will look for the new coach and we need to move on this as quickly as possible."

He said with only limited participation in every sport this past year, his goal will be to work with each of the student athletes to increase interest in each program.

"The big challenge is two-fold in commitment and participation. We have some great athletes here and at times we have those athletes only playing one sport," he said. "The emphasis on my end is we have got to get these kids involved as much as possible. When you are in a small school, we want to drive home to the student athletes that you can help us out in more than one area. We have a lot of kids that could change certain programs, and I don't think they see that right now."

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