Waggener Athletic Director Brings Energy, Enthusiasm to His Role
Photography / Provided
Jamie Dumstorf’s enthusiasm for his work as Waggener High School’s athletic director is obvious when you speak with him.
“Setting up the semi-state event was a little tricky,” because of the pandemic he says of hosting the regional event. “Unfortunately, none of Waggener’s students qualified for state finals. But we’ve wrapped up Winter sports and are turning to Spring.”
Now in his ninth year as Waggener’s athletic director, he explains how he got to his part two, as he calls it. He taught history and psychology and coached soccer, basketball, and track at the school from 2001 to 2005, then spent four years at Oldham County High School teaching history and coaching.
He also spent three years at Fern Creek High School teaching history and psychology and coaching soccer and served as assistant athletic director.
“I also taught for the Archdiocese, middle school social studies, and coached for three years at Sacred Heart School, and three years at Bullitt East High School,” Dumstorf says.
He returned to Waggener in 2012, and his focus is now on athletics, but he adds that he still substitute teaches occasionally as needed, although he is rarely in the classroom now — only a few times each year, as the school system has a “good core group of subs.”
“Being an athletic director at Jefferson County Public Schools, there are no longer teaching responsibilities, but the workload increases the days in the teacher contract, the athletic director has 220 days, you’re still a contracted teacher but with an extra 33 days,” Dumstorf says. “Part of that is simply the main job that you become facilities director for all the fields, the same field in the stadium for football and soccer, and the main field for baseball and soccer. “
“It’s a lot of mowing, but it’s a great escape, to put on the headphones (on the riding lawn mower), It’s also striping and painting, and weed control. When preparing a football field, it’s about a 12-hour job, all the lines and numbers, so there’s not much time in that (the upkeep) for a teaching schedule,” he says. “My hourly workload increased significantly.”
He also says that “if everything goes right no one notices, if something goes wrong, the whole community notices, if there’s no toilet paper in restrooms, or the concession stand is out of nachos. It’s management director and event planner for practices, and equipment and game uniforms, managing officials and coordinating buses for road games for players and cheerleaders. If away games, there’s getting tickets from other athletic directors.”
“There’s never a dull moment. But it’s easier than some, there’s a smaller number of students in athletics at Waggener, and twice as many at Eastern High School or Ballard High School. Waggener has varsity and a small junior varsity, and soccer has only varsity, some schools have more and other sports like lacrosse,” Dumstorf says. “But there are more staff too, like Ballard or Male High School. It’s not unusual to have 80-hour weeks in the Fall.”
“The work calendar ends first week in June and starts again Monday after July 4, so that’s about four weeks off in summer but the grass is still growing, and has to be done,” he says.
“Accountability for teachers, professional development has increased exponentially. It’s work I love, but it’s less direct contact with students,” he says. “I miss that, not being in the classroom, I may see students at lunch or in the hallway until after school, then in practice and talking with coaches at games.”
“In 26 years as an educator, to see students successful in the classroom or in athletics, it would be hard to leave that behind. But also, it’s a big opportunity to impact lives in a different way,” Dumstorf says of his commitment to his work.
Although he did not attend Waggener, he was born and raised near Seneca Park, went to Holy Spirit School and Trinity High School, and had neighborhood friends who went to Waggener. Dumstorf attended Xavier University in Cincinnati for his bachelor’s degree, earned his first master’s degree from University of Louisville, and the equivalent of a second master’s degree — an administrative license — from Indiana University Southeast.
“It’s like being an assistant principal. Being athletic director requires a master’s in education and three years in coaching,” he says. “I was on the path to be an assistant principal at Fern Creek when the position at Waggener opened up. I knew I would enjoy the opportunity here.”
In addition to groundskeeping work for the fields, Dumstorf also runs the bookstore and is liaison to booster and alumni associations and helps organize reunions.
Dumstorf is particularly proud of the Alumni Association’s work in addressing the challenge of kids who may have food insecurity issues. Organized by President Lori Brown, the Association sponsors game day meals and a food pantry every Tuesday and Friday, with food provided by alumni, the community, and area restaurants including Panera and Plehn’s Bakery, as well as Dare to Care Food Bank. “Students can take what they need, no questions asked,” he says. There are also personal care items like toiletries available, and a winter coat drive.
The City of St. Matthews partnered with Waggener and former city councilman Pat Wissing to help match funds to renovate the walking/running track at the stadium in Summer 2017. “Our biggest project,” Dumstorf says. The 400-meter, eight-lane track with new rubberized surface was gifted to JCPS by the city of St. Matthews. The gates are open for the community to use for exercise when there are no Waggener sports events. The track also used by Our Lady of Lourdes, Holy Spirit, and Holy Trinity Schools, St. Matthews Elementary, and Barret Traditional Middle School.
“I know that the community is thankful and appreciative for the track access and we couldn’t do it without Mayor Richard Tonini,” he says.
The Alumni Association also sponsored a memorial that honors veterans, including eight alumni killed or missing in Vietnam. It was dedicated on Memorial Day in 2018.
“Growing up in the Seneca Park area, I’m a St. Matthews guy,” Dumstorf says. “It felt like things were left undone. It was the first school where I was head coach, so it was an easy sell going back to the opportunity. Former principal Katy Zeitz took that and ran with it. And Principal Sarah Hitchings is great, she’s a collegiate also, a Bellarmine graduate, she gets that sports impact kids lives. We hope to grow the program and bring in more students.”