Blogs / Features
Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com email@example.com
Dave Shapiro: A top educator-coach for all seasons & reasonsMay 24, 2013
Dave Shapiro deserves our thanks. In the game of give and take, the Chandler High athletic director, who is officially retiring in about a month, is beating the house badly on the give side. And he always will.
This summer he will get to do more of what he calls "my yoga". Riding a tractor while tending to acreage he has for various crops to sell at farmers' markets.
Forget Farmer John. Meet Farmer Shapiro, who is soon to have more time on his hands. Time that was so rare that several years ago he finished up helping run the state track meet late on a May Saturday night -- 11 p.m. or so. Went home for an hour of sleep and then had to head out and open the gates for irrigation for his water appointment from 2 a.m. to 7 p.m. That's almost in the past, but the squeezing job Shapiro has dutifully tended to the last three-plus decades.
Those duties began 33 years ago. Shapiro began his stint in education as a teacher at Marcos de Niza High. He was a RIFT casualty after one year in Tempe when a budget override failed. Got back in quickly in the Chandler district at Willis Junior High for a couple years then on to Chandler High where he's taken residence for 30 years and been a model tenant.
Shaprio is a man with the build of a cross country/distance runner (not surprisingly), a great sense of humor, a demeanor of gold and a work ethic unsurpassed that has done nothing but good for students and athletes in Chandler and around the state since 1980.
Here's just a bit of what Shapiro has been a leader of part of in his professional toils:computer teache (has served him well today with the advanced technology required t run tournaments) cross country coach at Chandler from 1991-2010; track coach at Chandler from 1983-1996 and later a track assistant from 2005-2010; athletic director for the Wolves the last 14 years and a key figure in the development and ongoing excellence of the Chandler Sports Hall of Fame.
Those items are a tip of the iceberg. He has piloted the Chandler Rotary Track Meet from a special event to its place now as a mega event in the sport. Has set up and run a couple of cross country invitationals (the Ojo Rojo and Chandler Invite), presided in putting on 11 years of the Nike Tournament of Champions girls basketball tournament each December and the last four year the NIke TOC girls voilleyball tournament in October. And has had a hand, often both hands, in the running of the state cross country meets/track meets.
Folks, these are big events that require huge chunks of time beyond the normal duties of a school AD. None is more daunting than putting together the Rotary, which has gone from a 10 school boys only event to one for both genders with over 100 schools competing. Shapiro has been the man behind the curtain. He is no phony or loud-mouth blathering. He quietly and efficiently coordinates these events. He is a true Wizard.
Shapiro is proud of education in general and his role in it. It made him, and I'm sure the campus feel good when recent NFL first-round draft pick Dion Jordan thanked his high school (Chandler) publicly: There's a lot of great athletes that come out of the program," Jordan said. "They train us well to get us ready for college, make sure we take care of business in school, first of all, so we can have that opportunity. Because of the community and the coaching, a tremendous amount of athletes come from our area."
Shapiro will watch the final class he's been associated with for four years graduate next week. Every year at this time sends him and many others to reflection.
"This is a time of sadness in a lot of way," Shapiro said. "It's like these kids are yours, too, with the time you've invested with them."
And it's not just kids who graced the athletic fields.
"Kids aren't meat on the hoof," Shapiro said. "Whether they play or are interested in athletics or not, they deserve our attention."
I've known Dave Shapiro for 28 of his 33 years. He's the genuine article. As accomodating a person as there is, even in the middle of the Rotarywith cell phones and or walkie-talkies ringing when something has bogged down for some reason. He has a little -- no a lot - of Barry Sollenberger in him
Shapiro's a history buff and strives to get records updated and accurate in all Chandler Hiigh sports. He has a handle on track, cross country, football, boys basketball and is trying to shore up holes in girls basketball and baseball. He will likely continue to do that with some of his extra time when he retires. He's already had a race at the prestigious Doug Conley Invitational named in his honor, along with longtime Tempe High coach Jim Wehrman.
Fortunately, while Shapiro is officially retiring, he unofficially isn't. He plans on helping out with cross country and track in postseason competitions if those in charge will have him and will help the continuing coaches at Chandler learn the ropes of the cross country invites the Wolves' host at least his first year on the sidelines.
Then there's the Rotary. He'd like to continue working it and organizing it, but as he says that's a district decision. I somehow think that won't be a difficult one. Anything having Dave Shapiro involved should be a no-brainer.