It’s probably not in the job description, but the athletic director position for the State College Area School District is not a 9-to-5 job.
“When the clock hits 3:16, I always joke that’s when the second half of my day begins,” Peg Pennepacker said Monday night outside the school’s North Gym before watching her school’s boys’ basketball team defeat Mifflin County.
A few minutes later, Pennepacker was at the district’s school board meeting announcing her retirement. Pennepacker will be stepping down from her post after six years in State College.
“Thirty-six years is long enough,” she said of a career that has taken her through five school districts, with two stops at Blue Mountain as well as stints at Perkiomen Valley, Twin Valley and Susquehanna Township.
She started as a health and physical education teacher at Blue Mountain, and coached any sport for which she was asked, she said, after graduating from Lock Haven. Along the way she built her resume, became heavily involved in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Director’s Association and is now on the executive council, and also has become a strong advocate for Title IX, working for gender equality.
“I like talking to groups about Title IX to educate them about the law and really help them understand it,” said Pennepacker, who not long ago started a small consulting business about Title IX.
What she won’t miss are the hours and dedication the job entails, setting schedules for the numerous athletic programs, finding officials, arranging buses for road trips and plotting games in pretty much every corner of the state, not to mention attending events at all the various courts and fields.
“It’s a humongous job,” Pennepacker said. “It’s enormous with a gazillion moving parts and you better know what you’re doing.”
The school district has plenty of time to seek out a new leader for the department, though the job has not yet been posted.
“It’s very early in the search process,” district spokesperson Chris Rosenblum said by email. “As is our customary practice for replacing administrators, we first will form a search committee comprised of representatives from all related constituencies. Committee members will evaluate internal and external candidates thoroughly to select our next athletic director. Peg served the district’s student-athletes, coaches and parents admirably during her tenure, and her leadership and devotion to the district will be missed.”
Pennepacker took over the athletic department from Ron Pavlechko, who retired in 2011 after 15 years at the helm and 40 years at the school.
She said she doesn’t plan on leaving the area, with family still in the state, and she won’t be getting out of the business with her consulting business. She just won’t be putting in the long hours.
“I’ll stay involved in athletics somehow,” Pennepacker said. “But really, I’ll be 59 in February, and it’s getting to the point where the hours are really tough to take. ... It’s starting to wear on me, no doubt.”