Dean Rossi retired as Hollidaysburg Area High School's full-time athletic director last December after 24 years of service there.
It was a good run, but Rossi admitted that the long hours were starting to exact their toll on him.
"The Hollidaysburg job was a big job, and the full-time deal was starting to wear on me a little bit after 24 years,'' Rossi said. "We had accomplished the majority of goals that we had set out to accomplish during my time there, and I thought it was time for me to step back and enjoy the fruits of hard labor.''
But not for long.
Rossi wasn't out of the athletic director's position for three months when he realized how much he missed those duties. He wanted to resume them on a part-time basis, and Huntingdon Area High School afforded him that opportunity.
When a part-time athletic director's position opened at Huntingdon, Rossi interviewed for it earlier this month, was offered the job, and accepted it. His appointment was officially approved by a 7-0 vote at Huntingdon's School Board meeting Tuesday night. Two members were not there and did not vote.
"This is a good fit for me,'' Rossi said. "I was looking for something part-time in athletics. I like the idea of staying involved in the PIAA on the District 6 Committee and on the Board of Control, and to continue that, I needed to be with a school district. When the position opened at Huntingdon, I inquired about it, interviewed, and was offered the job. I don't have to go down there full-time and put in all the hours that I did at Hollidaysburg every day, but I can still stay involved.''
Rossi, a former teacher and coach at Juniata College, and his wife, Judy, a former teacher at the Huntingdon Area Middle School, are both very familiar with the Huntingdon area.
"I know a lot of people there,'' Rossi said. "It's a good fit for what I want to do right now.''
Fred Foster, Superinten-dent of Schools for the Huntingdon Area School District, welcomed Rossi aboard the Bearcats' ship.
"He's a legend in AD land in District 6 and throughout the state,'' Foster said of Rossi, who also currently has another part-time job as a recruiting coordinator for the Mount Aloysius College athletic departments. "We know what he's done at Hollidaysburg and throughout his career. We're fortunate that he's a part of us right now, and we're hoping to gain from his experience and from the ways in which he can enhance the Huntingdon athletic department.''
Rossi, who will begin his duties immediately, knows that it will take some time to get a feel for his new position.
"Any time you go into a new position, you've got to go in and observe what's going on, meet with all the coaches, get input from them, and try to make some improvements where you see fit,'' Rossi said. "Now that we're in the spring, the school year is almost over. I think the best thing for me to do would be to just observe, get some input from the coaches, see what we need to do as a district, and put some goals in place in the summer and fall.''
Setting goals and achieving them was a big part of Rossi's long and successful tenure at Hollidaysburg, which began back in 1988. Prior to that, Rossi had been a head football and track coach at Juniata, before spending nearly a decade as a National Football League scout.
"We scheduled a lot of teams and became more competitive in all of our sports,'' Rossi said of his time at Hollidaysburg. "We won bigger championships at the district level and beyond in quite a few sports over the last 24 years. I'm proud of the athletes there, and what they accomplished.''
Rossi is hoping to leave a similar imprint on the athletic program at Huntingdon.
"I still want to be involved,'' Rossi said. "I still have a lot of energy, and I'm in good health. The Huntingdon opportunity is the right thing for me.''