Growing up in Auburn, new Auburn City Schools Athletic Director Dan Norton’s excitement for his new position is understandable.
“I’ve been involved in the school system since 1976 as a student or a volunteer or an athlete, a teacher, coach, parent — I’ve kind of played all those roles and so it does mean the world to me to try and give back to Auburn City Schools in a different capacity,” he said.
Norton takes over the athletic director position after the resignation of Clay McCall, who accepted a job as assistant principal at Harris County High School in Hamilton, Georgia.
“I never really thought about moving into this role because Clay and I always talked about retiring at the same time. But when he retired, I put my name in — I had several coaches encourage me to do that, and so I did,” Norton said. “The more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. I know a lot about the community and I know a lot about our school system because I’ve been here for a long time and it means a lot to me. I want to do a good job.”
Norton has spent the last 26 years coaching the Auburn High School cross-country and track teams. Under his tutelage, the two teams enjoyed a great deal of success, winning state championships on both fronts.
Both coaching and teaching at Auburn High School since 1993, the step forward is exciting but not necessarily easy for the former Auburn High and Auburn University graduate. Along the way, there have been countless ups and downs for Norton that pushed him to become a better coach.
“I’ve learned a lot from a lot of other coaches along the way in terms of how to manage practice and how to work with students and the kids more than anything else — they’ve inspired me in the past for their work ethic and how hard they’re willing to work,” he said.
Extremely new on the job after being hired earlier this month, Norton is ready to face the challenges that come with his new position.
“We’ve got some really high-quality athletes and some excellent coaches, and I know we have Auburn University sitting here in our backyard, but we have exciting things going on here as well and I’d like to see the community get involved with it,” he said.
After coaching for over two decades, Norton is more than prepared for new job he holds, and is hopeful for not only the future of Auburn City Schools but for the program that he leaves behind.
“It’s going to be fine — the program is much bigger than ‘coach Norton’ and always has been. The kids that work hard and show up every day, in the mornings when it’s raining and go and do their jobs — that’s them and they’re still here,” said Norton, proudly.