DURANGO — After two years as the athletic director for Durango, Dave Preszler will be stepping down to a semi-retired role next year on his way to full retirement.
In his two short years, Preszler has brought tremendous life, enthusiasm and commitment to all activities within DHS. In the next year, he will assist in the transition process with new athletic director Adam Bright while continuing to oversee the stadium remodel project.
“I’m very careful, I can’t allow myself to call it retirement. I’ll call it semi-retirement. There are still a lot of things that I can give back to society that I can do for student-athletes or coaches,” he said.
Preszler has been an athletic director for 39 years, and began his career in Bismarck, North Dakota as a football coach.
“I had the great blessing of playing (football) all the way through high school and college, and after that point, what do you do? I wanted to stay involved in athletics. I started four years here, four years there, and kept moving up the line,” Preszler said.
As Preszler has progressed, he has been able to work at a multitude of schools, each with its own atmosphere. As an athletic director, Preszler experiences the weight of the tough situations revolving around activities and athletics.
“One might think that there is a uniqueness to what occurred, but do things happen at similar levels in other districts? Probably. In a lot of cases it may not be a situation of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ Stuff is going to happen all over the place,” he said.
The situations take a toll, though, and while Preszler makes decisions based on his past experience, there comes a time when enough is enough.
“I’m pretty wore out. Matter of fact, I’m really wore out, and I need to make sure I take a step back to allow myself to catch my breath,” he said.
His kids played a large part in his decision, weighing in heavily on the need for more time together with his grandkids. He plans to stay in Durango during the upcoming year with hopes of finding more time for himself in the process.
“In the old days as a young coach, we would push all day, recharge overnight and you were fine, ready to go. It doesn’t happen that way anymore,” Preszler said. “The coach part of me is saying, ‘I’m going to fight through this thing.’”
Preszler’s current work week varies from 65 to 70 hours, and his only time to exercise comes during 5:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. walks with his dog. The transitional year ahead gives Preszler more time to enjoy biking, hiking and kayaking.
He also hopes to reacquaint himself with some of his former students and coaches.
“Some of the coaches on my staff are still doing really well, coaching in the NFL. We will spend some more time with them during this fall. It's kind of fun having that availability to do that,” he said.
Preszler hopes that Bright, the new AD, recognizes the importance of relationships.
“I think they need to realize that we have a responsibility to assist in the overall climate of things in the building, and have an opportunity to realize that athletics and activities are an integral part of this high school,” he said.
Along with the stadium reconstruction, Preszler will oversee the process of integrating the middle school and high school athletic programs. He will spend the next year at both the middle schools and DHS.
“I won’t be a hermit, you’ll see me around,” Preszler said. “I’m just going to have less keys.”
This story originally appeared in El Diablo, Durango High School's student newspaper, on May 26.