|Father Ryan President Jim McIntyre has announced DeLaughter’s appointment as athletic director.|
Devin DeLaughter, the new athletic director at Father Ryan High School, is looking to build on the school’s long tradition of excellence in athletics and engagement with the community.
“This school, after 92 years, is in great shape,” said DeLaughter, who came to Father Ryan this year as a math teacher. “As a new administrator coming in I feel like we’re on good footing. … The question now for us is what do the next 92 years look like.”
Father Ryan President Jim McIntyre announced DeLaughter’s appointment as athletic director on Feb. 2. He succeeds John Sneed, who has been serving as interim athletic director since the summer when Pat Lawson stepped down from the position.
“Devin brings an exceptional combination of experience and leadership to this position,” McIntyre said. “In the classroom he has distinguished himself by both his talent and his teaching approach, and he has become a respected part of our faculty in a very short time. His coaching skill is well-established, and his background in a variety of administrative roles – from athletics to academics to student life – demonstrates his commitment to education in all its aspects. Add in his athletic achievements and his embrace of our culture and it is clear that the search committee and our administrative staff have found a special person in Devin. We are pleased to welcome him as our athletic director.”
DeLaughter, 37, is one of the top running backs in Tullahoma High School history and an All-State athlete. He went on to star at the University of the South, where he was a three-year starter at running back, earning All-Conference accolades in 2001 and 2002.
He graduated from Sewanee in 2002 with a degree in mathematics, and began his coaching career as a football graduate assistant at Ohio University. He returned to Sewanee for a year as an assistant football coach and recruiting coordinator.
In 2004, he moved to the McCallie School in Chattanooga where he taught mathematics and history and served as the faculty director of the BASIC Academic and Enrichment Program. He later served as the school’s director of Multicultural Affairs. He also served as the McCallie offensive coordinator from 2004 to 2010.
DeLaughter moved to Grace Community School in Tyler, Texas, as athletic director and assistant principal. He returned to Tullahoma High School to served as the football team’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
He earned a doctorate in educational leadership in 2015 from Dallas Baptist University.
DeLaughter joined the faculty at Father Ryan in the fall as a math teacher, track coach, and the faculty advisor for the school’s Student Multicultural Club.
When the athletic director position opened, DeLaughter decided to apply. “I got into the profession to give back to student athletes as my coaches had done for me,” he said. “It feels like a natural fit for me. I love to study leadership.”
“I am humbled to have the opportunity to lead this athletics program,” DeLaughter said in a statement. “In a short period of time, I have discovered how special this school and its community are. Teaching these students has been exhilarating for me as I watch them learn and see them work together to serve others.
“And the legacy of Father Ryan in Tennessee sports history, embodying the best of competition, sportsmanship and leadership, is a proud one that is respected across the region,” he added. “I am honored to build on that legacy, and I look forward to working with our entire teaching and coaching community to help these young men and women achieve success while being outstanding examples of Father Ryan.”
DeLaughter described his leadership style as “very collaborative.” His role as athletic director will be to set a vision for Father Ryan’s sports program, DeLaughter said. “We want a well-rounded department.”
He praised the school’s coaches. “Our coaches are modeling what excellence looks like to our student athletes not only on the field but in the classroom,” he said. “The number one thing I can provide for our coaches is to be a servant leader.”
That might include taking over some of the bureaucratic responsibilities from the coaches so they can focus on providing a good experience for the students, he said. “We already have an emphasis on excellence and doing things the right way.”
DeLaughter, who will officially begin his new duties on June 1, will take over a department that includes 29 girls and boys teams in 18 sports. Father Ryan has won 63 state titles in its history, including 25 in the past 12 years.
DeLaughter is the first athletic director at Father Ryan in nearly half a century who is not an alumni of the school.
“To my knowledge, the last time Father Ryan had a non-alum as the athletic director was the first athletic director,” DeLaughter said.
But he’s already received a warm welcome from the Ryan community, he said. “I’m going to work every day to prove to them I’m a Father Ryan guy,” DeLaughter said. “I bleed purple like the rest of us.”