In the past four years at Palo Alto High School, there has been a constant shift of athletic directors: Earl Hansen, Jason Fung and Kathi Bowers have all occupied the position in that time span. Next year, Paly will be experiencing yet another change as Assistant Athletic Director Therren Wilburn will take over the head athletic director position at the start of the 2017-18 school year.
Principal Kim Diorio endorsed this change in a letter to the school staff last week, announcing the resignation of the current athletic director Bowers. According to Diorio, Bowers will finish out the year as athletic director and teach more math classes at Paly in the fall, but will contribute 20 percent of her time as a teacher on special assignment in athletics to help with the transition to the Peery Center.
Wilburn told The Paly Voice he looks forward to taking over as full-time athletic director.
“I’m definitely excited to begin my career,” Wilburn said. “I’ve wanted to be an athletic director at the high school level for years now, so I’m honored to begin my career here at Paly where we have great students and a hard working coaching staff.”
Wilburn found a passion in pursuing an athletic leadership career at San Jose State University, where he gained collegiate athletic department experience and earned a master’s degree in sports management. Wilburn previously worked at Bellarmine College Preparatory and with the Central Coast Section office, which have readily prepared him for this position.
“All of the [prior] experiences have equipped me to transition into this new role,” he said. “With that being said, the athletic director ‘title’ is just that, a title. My leadership will be reflected in my work ethic, and positive relationships I make with the student, coaches and Paly community.”
Aware of the rich athletic tradition at Paly, Wilburn says he does not want to re-invent the department, and will focus on small adjustments.
“I will make sure that as education-based athletics evolve, Paly’s athletic culture does too,” Wilburn said. “With the Peery Center there are definitely [new] things that can be accomplished in the years to come.”
According to Wilburn, he looks towards influencing student athletes at Paly as he transitions into the new job.
“The role as an athletic director at the high school is the ideal position where you can make a difference in a young person’s life,” Wilburn said. “As I look to how I’ve gotten to this point in my life, my sport experiences helped shape who I am today and I’d like to give back and help others reach their potential through sport participation.”