Last Updated: Wed Jul 28, 2021 - 10:14PM
For the past dozen years, Adrian Batts has been one of the faces of Jeannette athletics, serving as the head coach of an incredibly successful boys basketball team. Now, Batts will aim to translate that success to every athletic program for the Jayhawks, as he was hired as the new athletic director earlier this month.
Batts replaces Ryan Hayden, who stepped down after approximately two years in the position.
While taking on the AD role, which is a part-time position at Jeannette, Batts will maintain his full-time position as a sales rep, which has flexible hours. Additionally, he’ll continue to serve as the boys basketball coach, something that he initially believed would be impossible as the athletic director.
“I always thought it was a separate position. I didn’t think a coach could ever be the AD and be a coach,” Batts revealed. “Once I knew that (it was possible), I was very intrigued.
“I was normally in charge of 15 to 18 kids,” he added. “Now, I’m in charge of every athlete that walks the halls of Jeannette high school.”
As he continues to learn the nuances of the new position, Batts expects that he’ll lean upon some of his predecessors, including Hayden, as well as Anthony DeNunzio.
“I’ll definitely pick those guys' brains when I hit a bump in the road,” he noted.
While he credited Hayden for the job he did as AD, Batts indicated that he has a particular area of focus in this role.
“Getting the kids some more opportunities with colleges,” he said. “I know I’ve helped some kids with basketball, but I’d like to really dig in with the other sports to get them to understand college is a great thing.”
Batts has inherited a challenging situation with the storied football program, however, as a myriad of offseason transfers has resulted in a significant decline in the roster size. Additionally, longtime head coach Roy Hall is expected to retire following the upcoming campaign, despite Batts’ efforts to convince him otherwise.
“Roy is Jeannette. His whole career as a player, student, as a coach – he’s been there. Roy is one of those guys who doesn’t come along very often,” Batts stated. “Since I’ve been in Jeannette, he’s been like a big brother to me, so that’s definitely something I’m going to miss. We’ll cherish all the moments and send him out the right way if this is his last year.”
While finding the next football coach will likely be on the horizon for Batts, he’s confident that the program will continue to uphold its storied tradition for years to come, despite the current turmoil.
“It’s unfortunate what’s happening, but those are things we can’t control. We don’t know why. It’s very sad,” he said. “The future is really bright with some of the classes coming up. There’s some athletes that are still there that love being a Jayhawk.
“We may have a down year or two, but we’ll be back,” Batts added.
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