Irving ISD Athletics Director, Joe Barnett, is ready to step off the plate and into retirement after guiding Irving sports for 10 years. To replace him, IISD administrators recruited Dallas ISD Assistant Athletic Director, Clint Roddy.
“In the end we were looking for someone who we thought could build upon the solid foundation that Coach Barnett has put in place, but also someone who has the capacity to take us to the next level,” said IISD Superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden.
Roddy and Bedden are already exploring ways to improve the program.
“One of the things we’ve started working on was the goal to strengthen our feeder system,” Bedden said. “That’s both with our middle school programs becoming stronger but also our connection to our youth programs.”
Barnett is confident that Roddy’s work ethic and administrative skills make him the ideal administrator for expanding Irving athletics.
“He is very organized, detail oriented, takes care of responsibilities very well. People that work with him really enjoy working with him,” he said. “He’s good to be around. Good supervisor for coaches. [He] knows his job very well.”
Besides acting as Assistant Athletic Director for DISD since 2007, Roddy has over 15 years experience as both a coach and an educator. He began his career in 1997 at Navarro College’s Corsicana campus as an Assistant Football Coach and both a Development Math Instructor and Physical Education Instructor. Three years later, he relocated to Dallas and continued his teaching and coaching career at A. Maceo Smith High where he served as Director of Vocational Office Education and as the Offensive Coordinator for the Falcons. In 2003, Roddy transitioned out of the classroom to became Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator at Seagoville High School, also in DISD, before finally settling in as Assistant Athletic Director for the school district.
Roddy will start the next stage of his athletic career as he begins working with IISD on a part-time basis beginning May 13, before joining the district full-time on June 3.
Moving to the significantly smaller IISD will present Roddy with a different environment than the one he has become accustomed to over the last decade. With 22 high schools, the organization in DISD is different than that in Irving, which only has 5 high schools.
For example, Dallas is large enough to hold its own district playoffs, sending successful teams to state playoffs for every sport. Irving, on the other hand, must compete with neighboring school districts like Coppell and Carrollton/Farmers Branch for coveted titles.
Despite the differences, Roddy is convinced his experience playing with smaller districts, through exhibition games and competitions that included the smaller DISD schools, has prepared him for his new position.
“We have three 3A schools that are in a district with outside schools – Farris, Irving, North Hills, amongst others – so I do have the experience working with the outside districts,” Roddy said.
Roddy is also relying on the support infrastructure already in place for Athletic Directors around the state.
“I’m involved with the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association, so I have relationships with all of the athletic administrators that are currently a part of your 6 5A District,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll miss a beat with that.”
Far from being detrimental, Bedden thinks Roddy’s experience with a larger district will be an asset to Irving’s program.
“We are obviously smaller than DISD, so we think that someone whose skill set managing a large program will actually allow him to be more detail oriented and help us improve,” Bedden said.
Regardless of his extensive experience at the district level, Roddy’s stance on student development sealed the deal for Bedden.
“We want someone who is going to be supportive of the student first,” Bedden said. “Our student athletes consistently have had the highest attendance rate, the highest grades in the schools, and we want to continue.”
“We want to try to use these sports to teach kids life lessons that they can carry on with them once they leave school,” Roddy said.
One of the ways Roddy plans on accomplishing this goal is by cultivating relationships with the students.
“Coaches are the ones who are working with the kids on a daily basis,” he said. “But I always look for the chance to be able to connect with kids, whether that be to visit a practice or maybe get in to speak to a group during an offseason program or being visible before a game, and let them know that I’m there to support them.”
Jess Paniszczyn and IISD Athletics contributed to this article.