A funny thing happened to Bob Bateman in Las Vegas last week.
The veteran Carson High teacher and now athletic director was named the state’s Athletic Director of the Year at last week’s annual athletic director meeting, which has always been held at the site of the state basketball tournament.
It was the biggest honor he’d received as an administrator, but unfortunately he missed hearing his name being called.
“It was a shock,” Bateman said. “I had no idea that I was getting the award. I appreciate and I’m humbled by the award. From what many people tell me, usually when the meeting is in the south, a Vegas-area AD is honored, and when it’s in the north, somebody from the north gets it, so to win the award is great.
“I think they look at ADs who have hosted a lot of big events and longevity at the job among other things.”
The three-day event was filled with meetings, and Bateman was at a morning meeting on Friday when he realized that he’d left his Southwest confirmation number in his room at the Orleans. He left the meeting to retrieve his number so he could confirm his Saturday flight.
“We had some time before the main speaker was going to talk, so I thought I had time to run back up to my room,” Bateman said. “I ran into some other athletic directors from some of the smaller schools, and I was chatting with them. Kathy, Jeff Evans (from Douglas) and Marc (Rodina, CHS dean) were in the meeting, and Kathy was texting me like crazy telling me to get back to the meeting. I’d only been gone 15 or 20 minutes, and they announced it while I was gone.
“You’re only as good as the people around you. From Kathy Taylor, my athletic department secretary, to the volunteers, ticket takers, security people and the staff at Carson who work many of the athletic events. I couldn’t do it without them.”
Jeff Evans, Douglas High athletic director, said the award is well deserved.
“Bob does a good job,” said Evans, who won the award in 2013. “It’s a great honor, and a well-deserved honor. Bob never backs down from hosting a big event. He’s always willing to do it, and he puts on a first-class event. The state meet last year was the best one I’ve been to in 25 years. Bob is an in-your-face sort of guy, but he’s very fair and very consistent. People around the state respect him.”
One of the things one has to appreciate about Bateman is his willingness to tackle big projects like regional and state track, regional wrestling and regional basketball. Because of the hard work of volunteers and support staff, Carson has gotten a lot of kudos from schools all over the state.
“I’ve never had one complaint about our hosting an event,” Bateman said. “Coaches from down south were very complimentary about our track facility last year.
“It is a lot of work, and sometimes people take that on and get overwhelmed. We have a lot of staff here at Carson and volunteers that make these events a success.”
Carson is hosting regional track this year, and there has been talk about permanently moving regional track for all divisions to Carson, according to track coach Robert Maw. Certainly CHS will probably become the permanent home to state track whenever it’s in the north.
Bateman said he will continue to push hosting the big events.
“A lot of it is bidding,” he said. “We’ll be at meetings, and they’ll ask who is interested in hosting. They also try to rotate it around a bit.
“I want our kids to have homefield advantage; to play in front of our home fans. Tasha (Fusion, new principal) was at the regional basketball tournament, and she has been very supportive.”
Carson is one of the largest gyms in the area, and Evans thinks it’s the best place to host regional basketball.
“It’s very cozy,” he said. “When it’s packed it’s loud; a great environment. It’s what high school basketball should be about.
“I think it (the award) has a lot to do with hosting big events. Somebody has to host it, and Bob has always been willing to host it.”