Paradise ISD is officially on the hunt for a new athletic director, following the resignation of Danny Neighbors this week.
“As of right now, I’m retiring,” Neighbors said. “It’ll be different. I’m done with coaching.”
Neighbors said that he left because he felt he was no longer in an effective role as the athletic director.
PISD Superintendent Monty Chapman said he received Neighbors’ resignation Friday. The board of trustees accepted the letter Monday night during the regular meeting.
“Coach Neighbors has been a tremendous asset for 16 years, and I’m sad to see him go,” Chapman said. “He’s been a friend and great educator to the students. It is a great loss to our community and kids.”
His contract was renewed in 2012 by a 5-2 vote of the school board – the only administrator not to receive unanimous approval. Trustees Lonnie Holder and Scott Eisen voted against renewing Neighbors’ contract, which would have been up for renewal again Monday night.
Chapman said the school has posted the job to various websites, including its own. He emphasized that the school is searching for the “right” candidate, but said he hopes to have a recommendation by the March 18 board meeting.
Until the school has a candidate in its sights, girls’ athletic coordinator Eddie Fortenberry will fill Neighbors’ shoes.
“Danny and I have been friends for a long time, and I’ve coached both his kids,” Fortenberry said. “I want to do what is best for Paradise, so I have to separate the two.”
Fortenberry said he is not planning on applying for the athletic director position, stating only that he will help in any way he can. Right now, he said, he and the rest of the athletic department will concentrate on reading resumes and candidate recommendations.
“It’ll be a lot of studying and a lot of review and a lot of resumes and being diligent,” Fortenberry said. “It’s a very important process. We have got to hire the right person, and there is a lot of pressure in that.”
An Alvord native, Neighbors ends a 16-year career with Paradise ISD. Prior to being athletic director, he coached at Alvord, Bridgeport and Decatur.
“I’m not going to sit still for very long,” Neighbors said. Although he will draw retirement, he said he plans on working, too – he just doesn’t know where, or at what.
“It’s funny,” he said. “You work 60 to 70 hours a week for 30 years, and you don’t know what to do with your free time.”
Chapman said the school district will likely have other local applicants for the position, but that is not a priority on who will be hired.
“We are looking for a highly motivated and successful person,” Chapman said. “We want the person that we put with our students to help with not only athletics, but, also, growing in life.”