Madera South AD earns area’s top honor
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Family, friends and colleagues gather to congratulate Madera South Athletic Director Andrea Devine for getting awarded the CIF Central Section’s Athletic Director of the Year during a surprise ceremony Wednesday.
When Madera South Athletic Director returned to her office after a few days off during winter break, she was going through her mail.
One of the many envelopes was one from the Central Section office. She opened the letter and was so amazed at what she read that she had to make sure it was addressed to the right person.
“I was initially shocked,” she said. “I had to take a second look at it to make sure that I was reading what I was reading. I thought I actually got this. It wasn’t like I was a nominee. I was just overwhelmed. You do a job and want to do it the best you can and give it your all. I try to give it as much time as I possibly can. You don’t think about getting recognized for it. You just want it to be right.”
The letter informed Devine that was named the California Interscholastic Federation, Central Section’s Athletic Director of the Year.
With that announcement, all three Madera Unified School District athletic directors have won awards. Madera High School AD John Fernandez was named the Central Section’s Athletic Director of the yeaer a couple of years ago. Matilda Torres AD Jordan Murphy was given an award to the top AD with less than five years of experience while he was at Chowchilla.
“I am blessed to have three of the best athletic directors, not only in the Central Section, but in the state of California,” said Madera Unified School District Director of Athletics, Marty Bitter.
Bitter was Devine’s boss while Devine won a Central Section girls volleyball championship and Devine succeeded Bitter when Bitter moved to the district office.
“I’ve known Andrea for many, many years,” he said. “This is way overdue. I think she should have gotten that earlier. It is more than deserving. I’m trying to encourage her to start a committee for female athletic directors to get more females into our profession. I think her knowledge, her ability to work with people, her work ethic and her understanding of how to deal with different personalities. It completely sets her apart.”
Bitter is hoping that Devine will be a role model for future aspiring female athletic directors.
“Being an athletic directors is not an understood job,” he said. “People don’t understand a lot of what we do. I feel like her and Diana Nalbandian-Hatton at Tulare are two of the female athletic directors that have been doing it for a long time. They can teach younger, aspiring athletic directors. She’s that good. She’s just awesome.”
Wednesday, Devine’s coaches threw her a surprise party to celebrate her award and as she walked into the school’s East Gym, she was surprised by the many coaches and colleagues that were there to support her.
“I was super surprised and overwhelmed,” she said. “These people are the greatest people. It’s something to be said to come to work everyday and enjoy what you’re doing. These people are the reasons why.”
“She’s an amazing boss,” said party coordinator, physical education teacher and gymnastics coach Tammi Britton. “She’s a vice-principal for physical education and helps us out so much. She’s the greatest athletic director. She supports us, sand he comes to our events. It’s been really fun. When she got this, I thought we really needed to celebrate.”
There were many coaches on hand to celebrate and honor Devine and each had great things to say about why Devine deserved to receive the award.
“She is just down to earth,” Britton said. “You can go into her office and talk to her. You can work out your problems. She can help you with the kids’ problems. It’s just easy to talk to her. You don’t always have that. It’s just nice to call her at any time when I need to.”
“She cares a lot for the kids,” said girls soccer head coach Ramon Delgadillo. “Andrea is great because she supports us 100 percent as long as we give 100 percent to the kids. She does a great job with worrying about the kids and motivating the kids to be right, academically. She’s not just concentrating on the kids that are doing good in school. She goes beyond to the kids that are struggling with grades so they are able to play.”
“Andrea is always there for us coaches,” girls volleyball head coach Travis McEowen said. “She supports us with everything we need when it comes to equipment, and support for staffing. She is always there to talk to us and help us whenever we need it. She goes the extra mile for us.”
“You can see the love and compassion she has for the student-athletes,” said football coach Matt Johnson. “She really cares, not to say that everyone else doesn’t care. I don’t know if it’s because she’s coached before or has been in the education system or she has a family, I think she gets what it takes to be a great leader.”
Devine is known for going the extra mile for her student-athletes to give them the best high school athletic experience.
“She does an amazing job,” Delgadillo said. “She does whatever she can do to lighten our load like announcing or running the scoreboard. She does an amazing job taking care of the paperwork. That’s a job I would never want to have.”
“She sees the big picture, as does the entire district,” Johnson said. “We’re here to transform lives.”
In addition, Devine was a former coach at Madera South and understands the student-athletes and how to coach at the school, especially volleyball.
“That’s where I feel like I can ask her expertise or opinion on just anything when it comes to volleyball. That’s a cool thing to have is an AD that has coached a sport,” McEowen said.
However, Devine reiterates that she is only as good as the people around her and she feels she has the best people.
“I have great coaches. Not only great coaches, great kids, great administration, great grounds guys, great security, great assistant with Amber. When they say it takes a village, it does to make sure it gets done right.”