Dave Wilson named A.D. of the Year

ESCANABA – The coaches at Escanaba high school will tell you that athletic director Dave Wilson is a tireless worker, and they’re not the only ones taking notice.

On Friday, Wilson was named 2013-2014 A.D of the Year by the Upper Peninsula Athletic Directors Association.

“It definitely means a lot because it came from my peers,” Wilson said. “We’re all in this together. Sometimes I think the only people who realize what we do is each other. I was shocked, surprised and humbled to receive the award.”

The award was voted on by the U.P.A.D.A, which consists of all the athletic directors in the Upper Peninsula. Wilson was honored by the recognition, but noted the best part of receiving the award was having Gladstone’s athletic director Matt Houle on the other end.

“He actually got up and presented me the award, which meant probably meant the most because it was Matt,” he said. “We’re a close group, our teams and schools are really competitive against each other but we’re all very close friends, so it meant a lot. Especially to come from him.”

Wilson has been employed in the Escanaba school system since 1999. During that time he has served as a coach, teacher, assistant principal and athletic director.

“We are so lucky to have him,” said Esky boys’ basketball coach Tracy Hudson. “It is long overdue, for what he does for the U.P. and our school system. I’m just really happy for him.”

Hudson made note of Wilson’s extensive work in February and March, a time in which Escanaba plays host to multiple district, regional and quarterfinal basketball games. He also said Wilson has the students best interest in mind.

“Every road game he goes on the bus and talks to the kids before they go,” Hudson said. “That’s one thing that really stands out to me. If he knows we have a tough loss, he’ll call us after the game and try to cheer us up. His hearts really into the job. He has a lot of pride in what he does.”

Wilson took over as athletic director in the fall of 2007. He also took on assistant principle duties four years ago. Prior to his work as an administrator, Wilson was a teacher and assistant football coach under Dan Flynn. During that time he also worked with current Escanaba head football coach Jim Hansen.

“Dave is the highest caliber guy,” Hansen said. “He loves kids, he always puts kids first. He did it as a teacher, he did it as a coach and he does it now as an athletic director and assistant principal.”

“He puts in as many hours, hard working hours, long hours, as anybody in the district to make sure that our athletics are run the way they should be and to make sure our kids have a first class experience.”

It was the first time Wilson has won the award. He had praise for his colleagues within the Escanaba school system.

“I have a very good administrative team that does a lot for me, an excellent principal, Doug Leisenring, and I have a lot of support in the school from the superintendent on down.”