A closer look at Athletic Director Al Lightsey


Photo courtesy Julia Lvovsky

Athletic Director Al Lightsey celebrates senior night with the poms team.

At first glance, Al Lightsey is titled solely the athletic director, undervaluing the integral part he plays in making this school so special. 

Lightsey has had different jobs and roles during his time here. He was an English teacher and a coach before becoming athletic director. Lightsey does everything with a smile and positive attitude that students, staff and parents look forward to working with.

The role of the athletic director is to manage the overall operations of anything related to athletics, specifically anything financial, like setting and maintaining a budget, ordering equipment and uniforms, hiring coaches and ensuring facilities are safe and equitable to the teams. 

In the past year, COVID-19 altered the role of athletic director. All athletics and sports were virtual last year, forcing games and competitions to be eliminated. “My job has become more difficult this past year because I have to be aware that everyone has different belief systems and parents want to feel as if their kids are safe,” Lightsey said.

Lightsey is consistently monitoring facilities and programs closely during the pandemic to ensure students are practicing and playing in the safest possible environment. Although he did this before the pandemic, the task is made much more extreme now that there are more guidelines to follow. “It is difficult to keep up with all the rules and regulations during COVID. I am doing the job to the best of my capabilities, but it is hard to do my job the way I want to do it,” Lightsey said.

A day in the life of Lightsey is never the same. Each day he takes on new tasks relating to athletics. In 2019, Lightsey was both a teacher and athletic director, working up to 16 hours a day. Now, athletic director is a full-time 12-month position. “My day is different every day. There are so many different things in-season and out-season so it affects my day-to-day job. No matter how busy my day is, I try to check in with teams and athletes every day. My job definitely keeps me busy and it is exciting,” Lightsey said. 

Lightsey said that even though COVID-19 set schools back, it has created more of a helpful culture in the school because teams and athletes are working together. As a whole, athletics has seen a successful year, with girls’ soccer winning the county championship, girls’ volleyball competing in the state, and more wins to come in winter and spring seasons. “I am very proud of Wootton athletics, and despite the pandemic, school spirit has been at a high. Also, more kids are interested in what their peers are doing and now recognize that athletics is a great part of the school,” Lightsey said. 

Being an athletic director is a lot of work. “My favorite part of my job is watching the athletes, seeing their successes and celebrating their successes with them. I love working with coaches, but the kids are the main reason I do this. When they weren’t here, and it was virtual, I was down. I enjoy watching them compete even if they are unsuccessful. There are so many life lessons to participate in teams,” Lightsey said.