Rick Penner, the new Moffat County High School athletics director, poses in front of the Bulldogs trophy case on the second floor of the high school. Penner visited Craig today to be introduced to the MCHS staff.

Photo by John Vandelinder

Rick Penner, the new Moffat County High School athletics director, poses in front of the Bulldogs trophy case on the second floor of the high school. Penner visited Craig today to be introduced to the MCHS staff.

Passing through

New Moffat County High School athletics director visits Craig

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He doesn't officially begin his new job until July 1, but new Moffat County High School Athletics Director Rick Penner just couldn't stay away.

Penner drove in from Denver on Monday, visiting the town he soon will call home.

"I'm just here to kind of get my foot in the door," Penner said while taking a break from a morning full of meetings at the high school. "You know, kind of an information gathering to get acquainted."

He has been following the Bulldogs during his transition and acknowledges that some items will need to be addressed once he takes over full time.

"I know we need to address the coaching scene in soccer, and we're going to try and get things on the move this week," he said. "I'm finding out what we need to do, what we don't need to do and where we are as a program."

Penner reiterated a point he made in a telephone interview two weeks ago - academics come before athletics.

"I think of us as a school and that the athletics and the extra-curricular are all part of that to enhance the experiences that are here," he said. "They work hand in hand. We'd like for the kids to have the opportunity to excel in a variety of different ways - scholastically first - but in other talents as well that will help them become good citizens of the community."

The position is Penner's first at the high school level - he was a middle school A.D. and assistant principal before now - and he said he's looking forward to the new challenge before him.

"CHSAA (Colorado High School Athletic Association) is my governing body now, so I have to make sure I dot the I's and cross the T's. They are the NCAA of the high school programs. We just have to follow with what we are supposed to do. All of what they do is there for a reason, the success of the program and the success of the student-athletes."

Monday marked the first day Penner sat in his new office, drove through his new town and met his new boss, but the trip was solely extra-curricular.

"I'm not making any decisions today," he said. "Except, I have to find a place to live."

John Vandelinder can be reached at 875-1793, or jvandelinder@craigdailypress.com

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