LaGrange’s Pauley earns honor

Published 10:52 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2017

By Kevin Eckleberry

LAGRANGE – After a successful coaching career that spanned more than two decades, LaGrange High’s Mike Pauley was seeking a new challenge.

He found it when he was asked to take over as the school’s athletics director before the 2015-2016 school year.

Pauley accepted, and he has been on the job for more than two years now.

During the 2016-2017 school year, Pauley oversaw an athletic program that was the best in Region 5-AAAA.

Based on that and other considerations, Pauley was selected as the region’s athletic director of the year.

It’s the second consecutive year one of the local athletic directors won the award.

Troup’s Robert Schweizer was named Region 5-AAAA’s top athletics director for the 2015-2016 school year.

“Bob Schweizer was voted that last year, so that’s kind of neat our county getting that in back-to-back years,” Pauley said.

Pauley stressed that while it’s an individual award, he gladly shares the honor with all of those who help keep the school’s athletic program going strong.

“It is absolutely a school effort to run an athletic department,” Pauley said. “And I’ve got a series of workers that run our events, and they are dynamite.”

Pauley has been affiliated with LaGrange High for more than 30 years, first as a student-athlete in the 80s, and later as a coach.

For 20 years, Pauley was the head coach of the boys’ basketball team, and he enjoyed tremendous success. Pauley won more than 400 games, and he led the 2009-2010 team to the state-championship game.

After the 2014-2015 season that included a region championship and a berth in the state quarterfinals, Pauley accepted the position as athletics director, and Mark Veal took over as the boys’ basketball coach.

Pauley said he’s grateful to have been able to work for two outstanding principals during his time as athletics director.

“(Principal) Penny Johnson’s the one that hired me, and now I’m working for Alton White,” Pauley said. “And between those two principals and the school system, I’ve gotten lots and lots of support. Mr. White, he basically says Mike go do your job. And if I have things I need from him, or he needs from me, we just talk. He is really great to work for.”

The 2016-2017 school year was enormously successful for LaGrange High.

LaGrange’s boys’ tennis team and baseball team reached the state semifinals, the girls’ soccer team and boys’ basketball team made it to the quarterfinals, and the cheerleading team finished third in the state.

No other school in the region accumulated more Director’s Cup points than LaGrange.

“Our athletic department last year, we took the region’s Director’s Cup,” Pauley said. “And we did that without football. So I think that’s a huge part of it.”

When Pauley found out he’d won the award, he told all of those he works with in the athletics department how grateful he was.

“For me, when I found out, I said to all those folks thank you so much, because this is all of us,” Pauley said.