Otey in as JF's new Athletic Director

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Comes to us from William Fleming

By Mike Forster


He's the man.

Or, at least he soon will be so.

Jefferson Forest principal Tony Francis announced that the school has hired a new athletic director.

Stepping into the role on July 25 will be John Otey.

"He's very organized and takes on challenges," said Francis of the man who won out a nine-horse race for the position.

"We had a lot of quality candidates with athletic director experience," said Francis.  "When we got to the final three, it was a tough call.  They were all so well-qualified."

The nod went to Otey, who is the current AD at William Fleming High School, in Roanoke.  Otey is committed to finishing out this year at Fleming before making the transition.

In the meantime, Steve Mills will continue as interim athletic director.  Mills stepped into that role when Nancy Claudio took a position with the central office last fall.

Mills had expressed a desire to return to teaching and coaching, rather than trying to make the AD role his for the long run.  He had not applied for the full-time slot and will coach the JF volleyball and girls basketball teams next year.

Otey graduated from William Fleming in 1996.  While at the school, he earned letters in golf, tennis and soccer.  "I wasn't really good at those sports," he laughed.  "But I did play."

He was also manager of the school's basketball team for four years.

Otey then headed to Virginia Tech, where he earned his degree in human nutrition.  Not surprisingly, he is a self-described "die-hard Hokie fan."

Otey went on to earn a graduate degree in teaching from Eastern Tennessee.  Upon graduating, he began his career teaching phys ed and serving in the role of athletic trainer at Auburn High School.

He transitioned to those same roles at his alma mater before being named the Colonels' AD two years ago.

Francis was fortunate to get a first-hand look at Otey as the two worked together on a number of issues concerning the VHSL reorganization, which kicks in next year. 

Both JF and William Fleming will become members of Conference 24, which will consist of eight schools.  JF will remain in the Seminole District, but will fall into Conference 24 for the post-season.

"(Otey) put together our tourney brackets and worked on the 4A-North committees," said Francis.  "He was very active with the conference work and I was exposed to his work style through that.  He's very organized and takes on challenges, stepping forward to take on things when others shied away."

"I'm excited," said Otey.  "(JF) is a great school, not just athletically, but academically.  There's lots of school pride and huge community support.  That will be fun."

An avid model railroad hobbyist, Otey also brings passion to his work.  "I think I'm good at being an athletic director," he said.  "I want to be committed to JF."

He'll also show a high level of  commitment in another area in the near future.  That's because on May 26, he'll marry Chelsey Sutton.  That's less than a month away.

New job, new school, new conference, new wife:  Otey looks to be a busy fellow over the next several months.

We wish him well on all counts.