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BPS athletic director Kenneth Still retires after 11 years

Posted by Justin Rice  October 9, 2013 01:37 PM

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Boston Public Schools Athletics Director Ken Still addressed coaches for one final time during the fall coaches meeting in the Burke High auditorium in August. After 11 year Still will retire this month. (Justin A. Rice / For the Boston Globe)

After 11 years on the job, Boston Public Schools athletics director Kenneth Still spent his last day in his White Stadium office Wednesday.

Still will use his unused sick days until he is officially retired from the district on Oct. 21.

“It is what it is, everyone retires, there’s nothing wrong with retiring,” Still said. “Presidents leave office, CEOs move to other companies. It’s always part of life.”

Earlier this month, BPS spokesman Brian Ballou said an interim AD is not expected to be named.

“We opened up the application process back in August, but have since then expanded our search nationwide,” Ballou said in an email. “We anticipate generating a list of candidates soon to fill the position, and do not anticipate bringing in an interim AD in the meantime.”

The Globe first reported Still’s retirement in July, when it also was reported that the underfunded and understaffed athletics department was being investigated for possible misuse of its $3.1 million budget.

Still has said his retirement was in the works for a year and is unrelated to the investigation. On Tuesday, he declined to comment on the investigation.

Still also declined to say what he will do next.

“I’ll think of something,” he said. "I’m in the process”

His last two days on the job provided one last fire for him to stamp out.

An unexpected school bus driver strike Tuesday forced the district to cancel all games and practices for Tuesday afternoon. Even though the bus drivers returned to work on Wednesday morning, the status of the remainder of the week’s games is up in the air.

“I hope that everything is fixed," said Still. "I hope that the buses are up and running and we can play ball."

Still, who played and coached basketball at Boston English before going on to coach at Brandeis University, took the AD job in 2003.

One of his first orders of business was restoring night football games in the city for the first time in decades. Night games were banned in 1958 after a brawl broke out during a game at White Stadium.

Another watershed moment was four years ago when the Globe ran a seven-part series outlining how woefully unsupported the department was. That series led to Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Suffolk Construction’s Red & Blue Foundation creating the multimillion-dollar charitable foundation called the Boston Scholar Athletes program. Founded in 2009, the program enhances opportunities for the city’s student-athletes.

Still has also championed nontraditional sports programs in the city, such as tennis and cross-country. He also helped boost track and field.

"What I do know is that I will miss Kenny Still when he retires in October," BPS track and field commissioner Mary Grant said via email in July. "He is a huge advocate for the growth and development of the BPS track program."

Boston English athletics coordinator Barry Robinson, who retired as English's boys' basketball coach last year, said he used to watch Still coach from the stands.

"I admired his teams and how they went after it each game," Robinson wrote in an email. "He was a guidance counselor when English High School was located on Louis Pasteur. When he moved on to Brandeis, I watched his practices and games. I have been following his career since I came to Boston.

"Ken Still is a product of Boston Public Schools and he is a consummate professional. He stabilized BPS athletics, and with his leadership, the student-athletes in the City of Boston are playing on an even playing field with their competitors."

Robinson thanked Still for being a mentor to him.

"I have learned so much from you, you inspired me to get my Master of Education degree in Athletic Administration," Robinson wrote. "Kenny, thank for your services. The City of Boston thanks you, too."

In the end, Still said, it is the student-athletes he will miss the most.

“Just the kids, the kids, you look at it from an athletic point of view but it’s also educating,” he said. “You look at the teaching. Learning is the most important thing. Dr. Johnson [former superintendent] said all the time ‘The kids, are we taking care of them? Are we helping them achieve?' "

Justin A. Rice covers Boston Public School athletics. He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.


About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.
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