by Brent Hovey
Aurora -- July 31 was the first official practice for the Aurora High School football team, but they weren't the only ones hard at work.
Paul Powers was down on the ground on all fours, setting up his computer inside his new office.
The first day of high school football practice also was the first official day for the new athletic director. He was hired in April to replace Dick Bliss.
But Powers has been active with Aurora sports since his hiring.
"I've been around as much as possible," said Powers, who spent the last 10 years as Bedford's AD. "I believe a program leader needs to be there to show direction and to help the coaches."
The athletic office will look completely different from when Bliss was there.
All the boxes and unfinished decorating made Powers' office hardly a quality working environment, but that didn't mean he wasn't working.
He said he's been working on inventory, systems setup and watching closely the progress of the artificial turf going down at Veterans Stadium.
Powers is learning how things work in Aurora, but also how he'll get things done.
"People in Aurora have been very helpful," he said. "There are different procedures, but schools are schools; they've got kids and sports."
Powers has been involved in the hiring of several new coaches for the fall, including head volleyball coach Jenna Schadle.
"I'm very excited about the fall season," he said. "I'm very hopeful and excited about all the new hires."
Bliss and Powers have had many communications over the summer. Throughout their talks, Bliss said he has provided mostly procedural guidance for Powers, who has 15 years of experience in athletic administration and is regarded as one of the top ADs in the state.
"He doesn't need it," said Bliss. "I'm thrilled with his hiring. He has the vision to do the job well. He's a great addition to the athletic programs and to the school.
"The only advice I have is something he already knows: If someone has a problem with something, evaluate it and do what you think is right. If they still have a problem, then it's their problem."
Powers has set lofty goals for himself and the athletic programs.
"I want to make Aurora recognizable throughout the state," he said. "I came from Bedford and when people found out that's where I'm from they said, 'oh, Bedford has a nice stadium.'
"I'm going to make people say 'oh, you're from Aurora; they have a great athletic program.'"
Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115
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