Phil West announced over the weekend that he will be stepping down as the activities director at St. James high school at the end of the school year.
While West is stepping away from the role as AD, he will stay on as an assistant principal. West has been the activities director at St. James for 17 years and has held the dual role of AD and assistant principal for 15 years.
"It's time," said West on Monday. "What I mean by time is that I've got three years left until I'm gonna retire anyway. I think it's time for somebody else to step in. Plus I can use those three years to help whoever it is if they have questions or anything.
"It's not like I'm walking away from the athletics part of it, it's always going to be a part of my life. For the last 15 years I've been the assistant principal and AD combined and we've grown to a size now at St. James, with the amount of activities and sports that we have, that those two need to be split up," continued West. "I'm ready to split em up and I'm ready to move on to just the assistant principal where I can get into classrooms more and do more things on the academic part of it."
West has loved his time as the AD at St. James, but he also noted that stepping away from the position will give him more time with his family. West has been a part of St. James for 22 years and has a lot of great memories.
"It's been great. I've gotten to work with some great coaches over the years. St. James is a unique community, our community supports our not just our athletic programs, but all of our curricular and co-curricular activities so well," said West. "That's made it very nice. It's not always the case where you get great community support. We've had great community support here over the years that I've been here and I really enjoyed it. We've had some great years and we've had some down years, but we've always had good people that have the best interest of the kids at heart. That's made it a lot of fun."
Some of West's favorite moments include the St. James Tournament. He announced his decision to resign at the bracket meeting for the event over the weekend. But most of all, he'll miss the great interactions with players and coaches as they've built the St. James athletic programs to what they are today.
"I think the biggest thing that I'll miss out of all of them is the interactions that you get to work with those. And not always the good times, when they're struggling as well," said the St. James AD. "You don't enjoy it when someone else is struggling, but you enjoy the fact that people can work together to get through those struggles."
The search has already begun for his replacement and the school board is starting with an internal search to see if someone at St. James is ready to fill his shoes.
"Well the position has been posted internally right now to see what we're gonna get for applicants," said school board president Carl Behr. "From there we'll determine if it's further posted externally, if we need to look outside."
Behr had nothing but good things to say about West's tenure as AD.
"Obviously when someone has it for 17 years, they kind of become the expert," said Behr with a chuckle. "We've enjoyed Phil having that position for a long time, he's done an excellent job for the district. He just wanted to move on to do some other things. We obviously want to keep him in the district to support our kids."
The school board will look to fill the job as soon as possible, but Behr noted that spring is typically when people shift between school districts, so if the job needs to be filled externally, it will likely be done then.