COLORADO SPRINGS — Chris Noll will have a larger roll in the athletic world of Colorado Springs School District 11.
Noll confirmed to CHSAANow.com that he has been named the new district athletic director, taking over for the retiring Dave Eichman.
Noll has led Doherty's athletic department for the last 13 years and thought he could serve the student-athletes of D-11 on a larger scale by taking over as the district activities and athletic director. He will also serve as the physical education content facilitator.
For Noll, the appeal of the job was the ability to widen the impact he has had at Doherty to the other schools in the district.
“At the end of the day, it’s about the impact on kids," Noll said. "I have the ability in this new role to impact more kids. And one of my favorite things in the world to do is work with kids and impact kids through athletics and work with coaches. I am super excited to work with more kids and I am super excited to work with more coaches and I’m really excited to mentor athletic directors.”
To fill the void for the Spartans principal Kevin Gardner turned to a familiar face in the Doherty athletic world. Stephanie Leasure has been named as the new athletic director.
The name should ring a bell for those familiar with the Spartans.
Leasure was on the 1995 Class 5A state championship team for Doherty. She was also on the all-state team that year and would go on to play college basketball at New Mexico State and the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs. She was inducted into the UCCS hall of fame in 2014.
Leasure has coached at Doherty and served time as an assistant principal, first at Harrison before coming back to her alma mater in 2016.
In the last two years, she has had a chance to see the culture that Noll has built with the Spartans and knows that keeping the program moving forward will be no easy task.
“I’m going to have to put in the work because he’s done an excellent job making sure that Doherty athletics is on the forefront and branded well and that kids and parents have high expectations coming into the program," Leasure said.
Her experience as a player, coach and administrator gives her the needed makeup to fill the role. It was something that Gardner saw in from the moment he started the process of filling the vacant AD job.
“What I said to people was that we were hiring an AD, not replacing Chris Noll because you can’t do that," he said. "(I love) the idea that you have someone who is a legacy and has been a part of that culture of every level and knowing that tradition that is Sparta. One of my responsibilities is making sure I do take care of that legacy and tradition of that entire place and the role it plays in Colorado Springs.”
As Leasure begins her work building on top of the foundation that Noll has constructed over the last 13 years, the newly named district AD will begin the task of widening his impact through the rest of the district, which includes schools such as Coronado, Palmer and Mitchell, and follow the model that Eichman built in his time in the role.
Noll worked with Eichman when both were at Wasson High School. In his role as a basketball coach and the athletic director at Doherty, Noll came to understand and respect how Eichman was was able to lead athletics from an administration standpoint.
“When I was the head basketball coach at Wasson, Dave was the athletic director," Noll said. "I’ve known Dave Eichman for 18 years. Dave has such a calm about him and he is so meticulous in the way he goes about business that I still to this day I continue to learn from him and the way he goes about business. Sometimes you need to slow down rather than go fast. And Dave has a passion for doing business the right way.”
And that's the way Noll hopes to keep things running. Doherty isn't necessarily losing the man that has ran the athletic department in the last 13 years, it just has to share him. But Gardner knows it won't quite be the same without him in the building on a daily basis.
"He’s all about kids and he gets them excited," Gardner said. "He motivates and inspires and we’re going to miss that piece.”
The benefit for the Spartans is that Leasure has what Noll refers to as a "passion for improvement."
So while he's doing what he can to impact more kids in Colorado Springs, he has no doubt that Leasure will make Doherty athletics a better place than she found it.