Peter Huse, who will become the new Columbus East athletics director pending school board approval Monday, doesn’t mind saying that his biggest challenge will be following in Bob Gaddis’ footsteps.
Huse, currently the Greenwood Community High School athletics director, said it will be the first time he has taken over an athletics director’s position where everything is running smoothly.
“The biggest challenge will be following someone who has done such a nice job,” Huse said Friday. “You have to maintain it.”
Gaddis announced his retirement as athletics director March 13 after nine-and-a-half years running the program. A member of the Indiana Football Hall of Fame, Gaddis will continue as the school’s head football coach.
Huse, 46, said the fact that Gaddis would remain as football coach was a big plus when he considered applying for the job. He said he did extensive research to learn about East’s excellent athletics tradition and terrific facilities.
“I am pretty excited about this,” Huse said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for me.”
Columbus East principal Mark Newell said his school was fortunate to land Huse.
“We are very excited to be bringing Pete on board,” Newell said. “He is respected in the athletics director community around the state.”
Newell said that Huse’s philosophy about supporting each student’s individual success was impressive. It is a hands-on approach that East found appealing.
“He talked about how he goes to all the different events,” Newell said. “We talk about how we want all our staff to know each individual student’s story.”
Huse said he is most proud of his record at attending “non-revenue” sporting events when his teams have been on the road.
“I think my strength is my ability to commit all my energy to the athletic department,” Huse said. “I am not married and I don’t have kids, so I can really put all my time into this.
“I have 19 years experience, so I know what the job entails.”
Although he spent most of his childhood growing up in Thorntown, he lived in Columbus as a first-, second- and third-grader. He eventually graduated from Western Boone High School in 1987 and then attended Purdue, where he received a degree in physical education in 1991.
His first athletics director job came at Washington Township High School in Valparaiso in 1995. He made stops at River Forest, Rensselaer Central and Danville before spending the past eight years as Greenwood’s athletics director.
He said it wasn’t an easy decision to leave Greenwood.
“I will miss the coaching staff and all the friends that I’ve made here,” he said. “There are coaches (at Greenwood) who have done a marvelous job.”
With an enrollment just under 1,600, Columbus East has about 450 more students than Greenwood. Huse said he loved East’s facilities and the success the school has had athletically. He said he wouldn’t have applied at East if he didn’t consider it a step up.
For his first time, Huse will be working at a school that shares an open enrollment policy with another school (North) in the same town. He understands that he has to make the program attractive to young athletes who will be making their high school choice.
Huse said he will move to Columbus as quickly as possible. He is under contract at Greenwood through the end of June.
If all goes well at the board meeting Monday night, Huse said he plans to schedule a few meetings with Gaddis and perhaps a day or two of job shadowing.
“We have been fortunate to have Bob (Gaddis) through the years,” Newell said. “We are in a great spot because of it. We have a well-respected tradition. Pete is excited about building on that foundation.”