BEAR RIVER HIGH – By Justus Wise, Headliner Sports Editor, April 15, 2022
It’s official. Clay Chournos, a born and bred Bear River Bear (Class of 1991), will take over the athletic director duties at Bear River High School amid Van Park’s retirement next month in a new administrative position - Activity Administrator.
Chournos’s journey to Activity Administrator began in the mid-1990’s after returning from a two-year mission for his church. He began coaching baseball in the spring for his former coach, Coach Bill Bingham. Seeing his natural proclivity to coaching Doug Perry, the then football coach, asked Chournos to help with the football team in the fall of that same year further entrenching his position at his Alma Mater and beginning a 15-year coaching journey.
In 2002, Chournos was named the head baseball coach for Bear River High and accepted a job as a biology teacher. He would keep this position until 2010 when he earned his administrative degree. He bounced from Bear River Middle School to Alice C. Harris Intermediate to McKinley Elementary and finally made his way to become Vice Principal at Bear River High.
“This was always where I wanted to end up. This is always where I wanted to be,” said Chournos.
The position of Athletic Director has changed drastically in the last few years with Park taking on the position as a full-time job instead of an after-school gig where he could both teach and direct athletics. The high school has added nearly 10 sanctioned sports in the last two decades and will be adding more in the future.
Seeing the continually shifting responsibilities, Chournos suggested that Bear River High adopt a practice that has been used in other school districts, namely, to have an administrator take on the responsibilities of an athletic director. This would be done because many of the duties of an athletic director coincide with those of an administrator, it would also clear up money for the school to hire a new teacher to help accommodate the growing number of kids attending the high school.
“It’s going to be really tough to start out just because it’s new in the district, but we are playing it by ear and will do a lot of picking and choosing of which responsibilities I will have as an administrator and which I will have as an AD,” Chournos said about juggling the duties of both positions.
Chournos respects what has been done in the past and, when asked about what he will do in the future.
“I want to take what Coach Park did and elevate it as much as he elevated the school while he had the job. I just want to do as much for the school as he did,” Chournos said.
Specifically, Chournos sees the need for change and sees the need for athletics to evolve and to stay competitive in a brand-new classification and a brand-new region. He will also build on a project he implemented two years ago called “Bears for Life” which helps to build skills and experiences for students that will last well after high school.
“We want kids to look back at their time in Bear River and say that was the greatest thing ever,” he added.
Park is also excited for what the future holds at Bear River High.
“I couldn’t be happier that it’s Clay. He knows exactly what I have been doing. He knows what it takes and what goes on in the athletic program. He has been a coach and a part of athletics. I feel comfortable turning things over to him. I love his creativity, ingenuity, and his new approach to the program. He will be a breath of fresh air for the program and will do a great job,” Park said.