Stability can be crucial when attempting to fill an administrative position in athletics.
Atkins appears to have found stability by hiring Matthew Pratt to be its new athletics director. The school announced Thursday morning Pratt will replace Kevin McIntosh, who resigned to become the baseball coach at Mount Tabor.
“I think the important thing is just simply getting the best fit for the job so the transition is as smooth as possible,” said Principal Joe Childers of Atkins. “And that was our goal. We had really good applicants, but Mr. Pratt in being the assistant athletic director here for, I think, the past four years, he’s done a phenomenal job.”
Being in an administrative position was something Pratt considered before applying for the open athletics director’s position at Atkins.
“I had enrolled online at UNC Wilmington to pursue my master’s in leadership and administration,” Pratt said. “So I was definitely wanting to take that next step into an administrative role, whether it be athletics or whether it be in administration for the school.
“... It’s going to take me about three or four years to finish my online degree, so this is the perfect stepping stone, it gets my feet wet as far as administration goes.”
Pratt has been McIntosh’s assistant for most of his four years at the school. Before coming to Atkins, Pratt was the athletics director at Virgo Preparatory Academy Middle School in Wilmington.
“(McIntosh) did so much for Atkins,” Pratt said. “I have the most respect for that man. He just changed the culture of Atkins athletics, not so much wins and losses, yeah. We have conference championships, state runner-ups in track, but what he did — he made the students proud to be athletes at Atkins.”
Pratt added that he won’t want to change many things because he feels the athletics program for the Camels is on the proper trajectory.
“Him being my mentor and being with him for the last three or four years, seeing how he operates an athletic department, I think it set me up,” Pratt said. “I think the coaches he has are amazing. But I think it just sets me up to hopefully continue the success that he’s laid the groundwork for.
“Like I said, I’m not trying to replace him. I’m trying to do more of the same and just add what I can, what I can bring to the table, and just keep growing Atkins athletics as much as we can.”
Childers said most of the coaches and athletes won’t notice much of a change.
“Kevin did a fantastic job, but I have complete confidence in both of them,” he said. “Obviously they’re different human beings. Pratt may choose to do things slightly differently, but I’m entrusting him to do that.”
In order for Atkins to remain competitive it must keep a stable coaching staff. And he pointed to Coach Marlon Brim of the boys basketball team and Coach David Hamlin of the football, wrestling and girls lacrosse teams as examples of that stability the school is seeking.
“I think a long-tenured coach helps a lot,” Pratt said. “Coach Brim, Coach Hamlin — they’ve been there for the last four years. And I think that plays a big role, is just having that familiarity that that coach is there.”