Ed DeVincent isn't a person who seeks the limelight. The athletic director at Liberty High School puts the Lions' coaches and players first, while he works behind the scenes to improve the school's sports program.
In his fifth year as the head of Liberty's athletic program, DeVincent earned recognition for his efforts when he was named this month as the District 1B Athletic Director of the Year by the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association.
He said that as a reflection of the overall Liberty program, he gladly accepts the highest honor given to a high school athletic director in the district, includes Carroll, Frederick, and Washington counties.
"I'm only as good as the coaches, athletes, faculty, administration, and community here," said DeVincent, Liberty's athletic director since 2007. "This award is not only indicative of the kids and faculty at Liberty High, but also of the coaches, who are a privilege to work with.
"A lot of them are Liberty alumni, and that shows they had a good enough playing experience here that they wanted to return and give back to the game and the school."
DeVincent is one of 13 athletic directors across Maryland to earn the honor within their respective districts. The award is presented to athletic administrators who have made a significant impact on the lives of students and have used athletics to achieve progress in the social and cultural environment of the school and community.
"I've been a part of this community for so long, and I wanted to make sure that we tried to create the best athletic program possible," said DeVincent, a 1986 graduate of Liberty High. "That's not just in terms of wins and losses, but making sure that the coaches are doing everything they can to ensure that the athletes are not only getting the Xs and Os of their particular sport, but also teaching the values that help them become successful for whatever they choose to do in life.."
DeVincent joins a select group of Carroll athletic administrators who have earned the district honor. Troy Warehime (North Carroll), Craig Walker (Francis Scott Key), Terry Molloy (Westminster), and Randy Pentz (Century) are previous recipients.
"I could not think of a better person to represent Liberty athletics and to be chosen as the AD of the year than Mr. DeVincent," said Liberty principal Thomas Clowes. "He has crazy amounts of energy, and that energy has transferred to the coaches, the kids, the parents and the community through athletics."
Prior to serving as the school's athletic director, DeVincent was a teacher and head boys' soccer coach at Liberty High. His 2005 Lions won the Class 2A state championship, and his last Liberty team was the state runner-up three years later.
As the school's athletic director, DeVincent has watched the 2007 golf, 2008 volleyball, and 2011 girls' outdoor track and field teams win state championships.
In 2010, the Lion girls' basketball team reached the state semifinals, and boys' soccer advanced to the Class 2A final for the second time in three years. Last winter, the girls' indoor track and field team finished second at the Class 2A state meet.
"John Wooden coined the term 'competitive greatness,' " said DeVincent, referencing the legendary UCLA basketball coach. "That means that you can perform at your best when your best is required, and your best is always required. If we live by that motto as an athletic department, we'll get there. We've taken steps these last five years, and we'll keep improving."
On his watch, the Lion football team made the only playoff appearances in its history, reaching the Class 2A regional semifinals in 2007 and 2008.
"When I first became the AD, we got into the football playoffs for two straight years and had a home game against (current Class 2A state champion) Middletown," said DeVincent. "When you have tremendous success in football, it brings the students together and increases school spirit.
"In 2008, volleyball won the state championship on a Friday night and boys' soccer lost in the state final on Saturday," he recalled. "That was an incredible weekend, and the support from the students, faculty, and community was outstanding."
DeVincent's energy and vision has helped the Liberty program in many ways. One of his main goals when he took the job was to increase school spirit.
"I wanted to create a greater sense of pride in the school," he said. "We started the Liberty Athletic Hall of Fame, and also developed the Athlete of the Week program to honor our current students.
"I'll get on the morning announcements a few days a week to announce the accomplishments of our athletes, and let the students know what events are happening that night," he said. "We've also developed our 'Rock the Blue' and 'Whiteout' T-shirts, and have worked to get the band and cheerleaders involved in both boys' and girls' athletic events."
DeVincent has also made improvements to the stadium, affectionately known as the "Liberty Bowl." He feels putting sod in the stadium has created a better situation for Liberty's student-athletes, and points to the installation of a new scoreboard last year as another important enhancement.
"He has worked tirelessly to improve the facilities and to implement ways to try and raise funds so that we can accomplish that goal," Clowes said. "Mr. DeVincent has put in place many new items to help coaches and athletes get better, while working to improve the image of the athletic department in the school and throughout the community."
DeVincent will formally receive his award at the annual MSADA Banquet, scheduled for April 28 in Ocean City. DeVincent and his fellow honorees from around the state will be eligible to receive the Maryland State Athletic Director of the Year award for the next three years.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times