Stoner announces retirement as Cocalico athletic director
By: TODD RUTH & LUCY RICCOMINI Review Staff, Staff Writer
Cocalico School District will say good-bye to athletic director, Audrey Stoner, who played a fundamental role at the school and was an integral part of its athletic department over the last three-and-a-half decades.
Stoner was approved for retirement at the March 18 school board meeting. She is in her 35th year with the district and will retire upon the completion of this current school year.
"She did a lot of extraordinary things in the field of athletic director," said superintendent Bruce Sensenig. "She has been very innovative and creative with the district."
Reached Tuesday by email, Stoner said there were several factors in her decision to announce her retirement at this time.
"(With me stepping away) it’s a chance for new ideas to come into the program," she said. "I’m also looking for a new direction in my personal life. This position is very demanding of my time and energy."
Stoner, a Cocalico alum who was named outstanding athlete during her senior year at the school, certainly poured her time and energy into it from the moment she returned as a physical education teacher at CHS. While a teacher, Stoner spent 21 seasons as field hockey coach while serving as the girls softball coach for 14 of those years as well.
She took over as athletic director for Larry McComsey back in 1999, and is in her 14th year in that position.
According to Sensenig, she was "a teacher, mentor, coach, and advisor to her students."
As A.D., Stoner, among many other achievements, developed a coach’s handbook, athletic director’s handbook, revised the school’s code of conduct for participation, and started parent nights so parents would have a chance to meet their children’s coaches.
"I think I have made some significant contributions to the health/PE curriculum," she said. "I helped lay the ground work for the student assistance team as part of the initial team that was trained in the late 80’s. I have enjoyed working with athletes in leadership/sportsmanship. I am thrilled to see the athletic opportunities that the Cocalico students have been offered over the past 35 years, four new ones which have become varsity level sports in my 14-year tenure.
"(I have) mixed emotions as I leave, for sure. I have developed a nice support group among the coaching staff and professional staff. These people know what is right for the students and they certainly go the extra mile to do things for them. I have appreciated all the support from the school board, administration and from the staff."
She added that some of her greatest memories in her tenure were provided by the student/athletes at Cocalico.
"(I enjoyed) watching our teams perform when their games really came together on a particular night and seeing the satisfaction on their faces after a job well done," she said. "(That was the case) especially when we were able to beat a team which we might not have beaten in a long time or in some cases might never have won against them.
"(Some of my other memories are) watching them win section championship games and how proud they were to get their picture on the wall of fame. Being able to go to playoff games in the post season and being proud of our school for having a successful season which allowed us to make the post-season."
Sensenig summed up his feelings of Stoner’s departure.
"She will be missed and will definitely be a loss," he said.
Cocalico has been quick to move to find a replacement for Stoner, naming current high school assistant principal Whitney Seltzer to the position.
Seltzer coached cross country and track for 17 years at Oley Valley and Albright College prior to taking the assistant principal position at Cocalico 11 years ago.
Her administrative and scholarly background matched with her athletic accomplishments make her a suitable fit for the position.
Reached Tuesday night, Seltzer said she believes her transition will be a smooth one, thanks in part to Stoner.
"I am extremely excited to begin my new position and Audrey has been wonderful ‘walking me through’ every aspect of her job," Seltzer said. "She is a wealth of knowledge and I am trying to capture everything she knows prior to her retiring this summer."
For more on Seltzer’s hiring, turn to page A-9. More STONER, page B-3