Ready To Retire: Huse leaving post as East athletics director at end of school year

Pete Huse finds it interesting that although he never was a head varsity coach of any sport, he’s been able to be a high school athletics director for 27 years.

Now in the middle of his eighth year at Columbus East, this will be the last for Huse. He is retiring at the end of the school year.

“There wasn’t one single factor that made me decide it was time to retire, but I think the biggest reason is, the expectations I set for myself and the type of job I want to do, I just felt like I wasn’t working up to the ability of my profession,” Huse said. “So I felt like it was time to retire. I set high goals, and I have high expectations for the quality of work that I do, and I felt like I’m just not able to do that. The job has changed. I’m having a hard time keeping up with the technology part of things and how to do that.”

Huse, 54, has prided himself on trying to be at as many of his school’s sporting events as possible, both at home and on the road.

”There’s just more and more events to go to, and as you keep adding sports, and I can’t go to everything, that just weighs on me,” Huse said. “I’ll use cross-country as a perfect example. I see maybe one race a year, and that’s it. I can’t be at all these places, and it just bothers me to the point where I can’t give all the sports equal representation. If I don’t have a home event, and there is a varsity contest on the road, I try to make everything.”

Among the biggest memories for Huse are when the Olympians went to the Football State Finals in 2016 and 2017 and the Baseball State Finals in 2019, as well as several other major accomplishments in other boys and girls sports.

“The special times like obviously the football state championship in 2017 is a very fond memory, but I also remember when the girls tennis team won the conference for the first time in 35 years (in 2017) or the boys swim team this year broke a long, long streak of being beat by Columbus North,” Huse said. “I remember the time when we had to reschedule the Hoosier Hills Conference wrestling meet. We did it on a Friday night, and we were wrestling well past midnight at Jeffersonville.

“Another good memory is Rhett Myers, when he went to the state in the discus (in 2016), and he had the lead until the last throw,” he added. “It was going to be an upset, and that gentleman (Center Grove’s Cameron Tidd) had one good toss in him. I can remember when T.C. O’Neal barely scratched by centimeters of a state championship jump in the long jump (in 2017). Those are the fond, good memories that I’ll remember the most.”

Huse also points to his baseball team winning sectional titles three of past four seasons the sport has been contested (spring sports were canceled in 2020 because of the COVID pandemic), with two final four runs.

“That’s a pretty special deal,” Huse said. “There’s not too many team sports that I know of that can say they’ve won three out of four sectionals and been final four twice in those four years, either at Columbus East or Columbus North.”

One of the biggest challenges Huse has faced involved having to replace seven wrestling mats at a cost of $7,000 each, as well as two gym floors and carpet and furniture in locker rooms and the athletic office after a flood in the summer of 2021.

Attracting athletes to attend East in a town with open enrollment has been another challenge.

“The East-North is the biggest challenge of them all,” Huse said. “Trying to create an athletic program that entices athletes within your own town, within your own neighborhood, within your own block to choose to come to Columbus East when they could choose either one, that’s the biggest challenge — to promote Columbus East in a way that familes want to send their kids, their athletes to Columbus East.”

A graduate of Western Boone High School and Purdue University, Huse got his start as an assistant in basketball and baseball coach at Lafayette Jeff for three years. He moved on to Kouts for one year, Seeger for one year and Washington Township as teacher-coach for one year before becoming athletics director at Washington Township for two years.

“The (East) baseball team when they were state runner-up and going to Victory Field, that’s obviously a fond memory,” Huse said. “Washington Township in Single-A baseball was there the same night we were there in 4A. So that was kind of a neat experience. The school where I started out at (as a first-time athletics director) was playing in a state championship, and the principal that hired me, I got to see him.”

Huse spent one year as athletics director at River Forest, then two years at Rensselaer, six years Danville and eight years at Greenwood before coming to East in 2015.

For now, Huse isn’t exactly sure what he will do next year.

“I hope I find some type of a role in maybe a few schools, one school, just to help out,” Huse said. “Whether it’s some event supervision. There’s always opportunities at schools who are inbetween athletic directors for whatever reason for a month or two weeks, so I keep my mind open for that. I’d like to some way find something where I can stay active in high school athletics, just not full-time. You hear ‘retirement,’ and yes, I am retiring, but I still plan to work in some capacity with high school athletics.”

Huse does know that he plans to move back to his native Boone County.

“Until I got to Greenwood, I always was a farmhand, as well, so I might help out some farmers,” Huse said. “It will get me closer to my parents, who will be 80 and 79, and I want to make sure I’m around for them. A lot of close friends live in that area that I grew up with that I’d like to reconnect and do some fun things.”