Northland athletic directors join statewide effort to focus on people, not winning

PROCTOR, MN – High school athletics goes far beyond the scoreboard, and three area athletic directors will be honored on Saturday for their efforts to make that thinking even more common than it is today.

Proctor’s Dan Stauber, Grand Rapids’ Anne Campbell, and Hibbing’s Meghan Potter are among 37 athletic directors set to be honored Saturday at the 2017 Prep Bowl for their involvement in the MSHSL’s “Why We Play” education program.

The purpose of the program, developed in 2015, is to develop transformational and character-based athletic programs that are focused on student-athletes’ human growth and development.

“I think I went through it as a young coach when winning was so important, and then I sat back and realized the impact we can have on student-athletes,” Stauber said on Tuesday. “We probably won’t find out for 20 years the true impact we have on kids, but after 20 years we’ll see them having kids and we can really cherish the time we had to impact their lives.”

Brainerd athletic director Charlie Campbell is also part of the program, and he says it’s changed entirely his interaction with students.

“This cohort has created an opportunity to develop personally and professionally and to reconnect with what is in our hearts,” he said. “It provides us with a common language and platform to speak about the issues we are all facing — there’s great power and growth in that. It has revitalized the way I interact with my coaches and how we intentionally impact students.”

Stauber says while there will always be a scoreboard involved with high school sports, this initiative by the MSHSL makes it possible to see beyond the wins and losses.

“We’re aiming to develop individuals,” he said, “and that certainly includes their athletics or their activities, but it also looks at how their academics and how they interact in the community. We’re aiming to help build well-rounded individuals and young adults.”

The 37 athletic directors will be honored during halftime of the MSHSL Class AAAAA championship football game on Saturday at U.S. Bank Stadium.

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