I had the chance to speak with Johnny Bistline to discuss his new role as Barrack’s Athletic Director. Here is the full transcript from our interview.
Cougar Chronicle: How have you been adjusting to your new role?
Johnny Bistline: So far over the summer, it has been a lot more administrative work. I am responsible for all the scheduling, all of the rosters, all of the behind-the-scenes work that makes an athletic program run. When the school year starts, it'll be interesting because I'll be doing both the Athletic Director job and the Athletic Trainer job. But definitely, I've seen the more administrative side of the athletics program over the summer.
CC: Why did you decide to accept the Athletic Director role on top of already being the Athletic Trainer?
JB: This is such a unique opportunity. I do not know any other programs that would allow (both on a time and commitment level) that would allow me to do both. I love the idea that I get to continue to build an athletic program in my own vision and my own experiences as an athlete. But then I also get to also build an athletic program from a sports medicine perspective. So I think that's really such a unique opportunity to be able to build almost two sides of the coin and continue to grow the program and take it in an expanded direction.
CC: What are some of your goals as athletic director?
JB: I would say that I want to continue to hire qualified coaches. We made a huge stride in our new Varsity Basketball coach, Ryan Ansel. He played at Davidson and he has coached at the college level. We are built to grow together, and he's the type of coach that I would like to hire more of. He is extremely dedicated to the Barrack community, and if not for COVID, we would have had a Middle School basketball clinic that he was going to run. So his goal as the basketball coach is to start building the basketball program, start building in sixth grade and seventh grade, not just, saying, “hey, we're a competitive Varsity program, we're going to start in ninth grade.” It's starting at the sixth grade level and moving up. So I would love to continue to hire qualified coaches like him who have the same ideologies as me in terms of continuing the growth of the athletic program. I think the second thing, another big thing at least, that I would really like to focus on is bringing more athletes to Barrack from outside the community. I think that we are in such a unique position because we are one of the most well-known pluralistic Jewish day schools in the area. I think that gives us a unique opportunity to further expand the athletic program by bringing in other students for athletics.
CC: Now for our current athletes, what are you looking most forward to for them this upcoming school year?
JB: I think the biggest and most obvious answer is them being able to get back out on a playing field after COVID. We lost last fall and last winter. In terms of competition now, we were lucky enough to be able to get on the turf and we were able to sweep the Girls’ Varsity and Boys’ Varsity Tennis Championships last school year, and we were lucky enough to get out on the field in the spring. But unfortunately the fall and winter seasons were canceled. So I'm most looking forward to seeing all of our athletes back out on the field this fall. And then, once we got the basketball season because obviously we had before COVID hit, we went out on a high note. Both of our basketball teams won the league championship right before the pandemic and so we ended strong and I would like to again. I'm looking forward to seeing that continued success.