Santa Barbara making a change at athletic director

They’re shaking things up in the athletic department at Santa Barbara High.

Nan Verkaik, who has served as the school’s athletic director for the last eight years, is being reassigned to a full-time teaching position for the 2012-13 school year.

Verkaik is the first woman to serve as the athletic director at Santa Barbara.

“I take great pride in having been the first female athletic director in Santa Barbara High School’s history, following in the footsteps of such legendary athletic directors as Clarence Schutte, Mike Moropoulos, and Lito Garcia,” Verkaik said in a statement. “I have been associated with the school since 1977 and my eight-year tenure as athletic director has offered me rewards and satisfactions beyond what I could have anticipated when I first assumed this role.”

Under Verkaik’s leadership, the Dons captured CIF-Southern Section team championships in girls water polo, girls tennis, girls volleyball and boys soccer, and won the school’s first  CIF Regional title in boys soccer and CIF State Championship in boys golf.

Before becoming the AD, Verkaik coached swimming and boys and girls volleyball at Santa Barbara. She guided the girls volleyball team to a CIF title in 2000.

Verkaik will continue to serve as athletic director until the end of the 2011-12 school year.

On the decision to reassign Verkaik, Santa Barbara High Principal John Becchio said staff assignments are regularly reviewed to fit the changing needs of the students, staff, and the school.

“Nan is a valued staff member and her classroom experience will add support to our focus on academic achievement,” Becchio said in a statement. “Nan has a heart for our students and our school. For years, Nan has had a huge positive influence on Santa Barbara High School and will continue to do so in whatever capacity she serves our school.”? ?The process of selecting a new athletic director will begin in the weeks to come.

This is the second staff move in the athletics department in the last two months at Santa Barbara. In late November, boys basketball coach Chris Hantgin was relieved of his coaching duties so he could dedicate more time to his classroom teaching.