At the end of the 2018-19 school year came the retirement of all kinds of individuals who've been a part of the local sports scene in a manner that was as meaningful to them as it was to the athletes they effected.
For Mexico Activities Director Jeff Anderson his time atop the Bulldogs program might seem like it lasted longer than the nine years he spent beginning as an Assistant Principal. That's probably because this longtime educator actually dedicated 34 years of his life to this process and when you love what you do it makes those incredibly long days that start before sunrise and end well after sundown seem not quite so long.
"Jeff's passion for our kids and our teams and activities has always been an inspiration to all of us. His loyalty to the students and programs at Mexico High School, while he has been here, is second to none," said Mexico High School Principal Brad Ellebracht. "When our kids are successful, there is no one more enthusiastic and proud than Jeff. He has also been a great role-model and mentor to the adults in our school, including me.”
When Anderson discusses the highlights of his time here in Mexico, one thing he's especially proud of is the fact the wrestling team finished second in 2017 prior to winning the state title in 2018. He also went out of his way to mention how delighted he was when the Lady Bulldogs softball team matched that accomplishment to start the 2018 school year.
"Jeff is passionate about the success of the teams at MHS. He is a great cheerleader for our teams," softball coach Keith Louder said. "Jeff is one of the first faces the athletes and coaches will see at the end of game. He came to us from a varied background of schools, but he will leave education as a Bulldog."
Replacing Anderson as the next Bulldogs A.D. will be Travis Blevins. His resume' includes having been the principal at Auxvasse Elementary, as well as being a former Bulldog varsity football coach. Considering how incredibly present Blevins is when it comes to all things athletic at Mexico High School it appears not only did the district pick the right man for the job, but that he already has a firm grasp on the job and what it takes to perform the duties.
“Jeff loves to watch kids compete. He loves to watch them grow on and of the court, field, and mat," said Mexico Middle School Principal Deb Haag. "He celebrates their successes as if he is playing with them and he mourns their defeat with them as well. In the end, Jeff is happiest when watching a competition that he can cheer on our kids.”
Another recent retiree according to www.mexicoschools.net was custodian Darven Nichols. While his role in the athletic process may have been somewhat low-key and probably under-appreciated, now that he's stepping away there are plenty of coaches who are going to miss him.
"Darven has been a family friend ever since my parents moved here in the late 1970s. I've had the honor of knowing him my whole life and recently had the privilege of working alongside him at MHS for the last 12 years," said varsity basketball coach Darren Pappas. "He is someone that I can always count on to get the job done. Darven was always willing to help out in anyway that he could. He is a huge supporter of Mexico Athletics and takes pride in preparing sporting venues for our athletic teams.
"One thing is for certain, I could and can always count on Darven's support throughout the school year whether we were in season or not. Darven exemplifies what a 'Bulldog For Life' looks like, and I personally can't thank him enough for his dedication to this school district, and especially Mexico High School athletics. Darven, congratulations on your retirement, we look forward to seeing you in the stands next season and will miss all your ‘behind the scenes’ efforts at Mexico High School.”