- Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:45
- Published on Wednesday, 17 July 2013 11:45
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As the Drifters’ new athletic director, Mike Patierno has a new vision for sports at Colonial Beach. Patierno’s era in Drifter sports began on Monday, June 1. He replaced longtime Drifter sports icon, Steve Swope.
While the task of setting the tone for a new wave in sports achievement is daunting, the former U.S. Army military police officer is adamant about continuing the age-old tradition of excellence, both on and off the field. “The biggest thing I get out of this stuff is to watch these kids compete,” Patierno said. “I am not concerned about wins or losses. Just as long as these kids are playing hard, playing within the rules,
“I am not concerned about wins or losses. Just as long as these kids are playing hard, playing within the rules, practicing sportsmanship, character, and integrity, the wins will come.”
A native of Chicago, Patierno attended North Central College, in Naperville Ill., on a Army ROTC scholarship. Although he majored in education, he later graduated and began a 20-year career in the U.S. Army. He started his military career as a second lieutenant.
Prior to accepting his new position, Patierno was the athletic director at Skyline High School, in Front Royal, for two years. He also served as an assistant principal at Warren High School before accepting the athletic director’s post at Skyline High School.
Along with being the Drifters athletic director, Patierno will also serve as the school’s director of transportation. “In one aspect it’s probably an athletic director’s dream to have buses work for you, and you can rely upon yourself for help.”
Although he is commuting from Winchester, Patierno hopes to establish a permanent residence in the Colonial Beach area. “You can’t do this job commuting back and forth, especially when school begins,” Patierno said. “I am a hands-on guy—for example, if a middle school volleyball team is going some place to play, I want to go and watch them play. You have to be out there, whether the team is home or away.”
Like the athletic directors before him, Patierno advocates setting a high standard on academics. “One of the things that cannot be forgotten is that they are student-athletes first,” Patierno said. “It’s a privilege to play sports here, because the most important thing an athlete does here is academics.”
In terms of visibility, Patierno would like to have radio coverage for Drifter sports. Having larger schools such as King George will draw a huge radio audience, along with attracting more fans to Monroe Park. “When we talked about playing King George, and I said that we had only a handful of kids versus what they have, they reacted with they don’t care, they want the opportunity to play them,” Patierno said. “From what I am told they (Drifters) are the kings on the field.”
Within two weeks, the high school sports season will officially begin, and Patierno will lead the way into a new era of Colonial Beach High School sports.