When Don Brown took over as activities director at Woodbridge and Atlee high schools, he inherited established athletic programs stocked with everything from coaches to helmets to uniforms.
Now, as AD at Forest Park, the Prince William County high school that will open next fall, Brown will have to build programs from the ground up. And therein lies much of the appeal of the job.
"The biggest challenge is setting everything up, which I've never done before," said Brown, 54, whose hiring was approved last week by the School Board. "This will be quite an experience I'm really looking forward to."
When Brown, currently an algebra teacher at Hylton, assumes his new position early next month, one of the first orders of business will be making aesthetic decisions such as the floor design for the gymnasium. The Bruins' colors will be blue and green, similar to that of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
Brown will solicit coaching applications almost immediately, and the response could be overwhelming. When Hylton was built about 10 years ago, there was intense interest in moving to the new school. Some of the most successful coaches in the area, such as former Potomac football coach Bill Brown and former Osbourn Park boys soccer coach Ken Krieger, bolted for Hylton.
A similar response at Forest Park would not surprise Brown, who was activities director at Woodbridge from 1987 to 1993 and at Atlee from 1993 to 1998.
"I think that kind of thing happens just about anywhere," he said. "Atlee was four or five years old, and there were a lot of the same type of things there. People want to go because it's new or they want to make a change."
Forest Park, at Spriggs Road and Route 234, will draw students from Hylton and Potomac high schools and Graham Park and Saunders middle schools. Forest Park will not have a senior class its first year. The Bruins likely will play a junior varsity schedule in football and a varsity schedule in the other sports, Brown said.
Before becoming an activities director, Brown was a men's basketball assistant at Virginia Tech, Tulane and Roanoke College and then head coach of the Woodbridge boys basketball team. One of the things he most enjoyed about working as an AD was getting involved in the entire realm of high school athletics, not just basketball.
"I gained a great deal of respect for kids who did all the other sports, watching them grow and be successful," Brown said. "I wasn't a one-sport person anymore."