Richard Onesty brings lots of experience to new job as Bruton High athletic director

YORK — Richard Onesty was a Baltimore guy in his youth. He watched the Orioles often at Memorial Stadium, played against Cal Ripken in American Legion baseball, earned a finance degree at Towson, got his masters from the University of Baltimore and was a golf teaching professional just down the Beltway in Rockville.

But for most of his adult life, Onesty's heart has been at Bruton High or its feeder school, Queens Lake Middle. Onesty's lengthy coaching resume includes a stint of 13 years as athletic director at Queens Lake, a tenure it sounds like he hopes to exceed as AD at Bruton.

Onesty, 51, was Bruton's athletic director in the last week and moves into the position full time Aug. 1. He succeeds Tracy Harrod, who stepped aside after a year as AD and will return to the classroom as a social studies teacher while retaining his position as football coach.

"I'm in this for the long haul," Onesty said. "This is the last move I'll make. I don't see this as a stepping stone job.

"It's a job I've wanted for the past 12 years. This time the situation and the time was right.

"Having been at the middle school as long as I was as AD, and being at Bruton as long as I have been as a coach, gives me a great perspective of the communities I have to deal with: the coaches, the student-athletes, the staff, the parents and the public."

Although he has taught since 1991 at Queens Lake — where he coached boys basketball, girls basketball, baseball and softball — Onesty has spent plenty of time at Bruton. He's coached the golf team the past 15 seasons, guiding the Panthers to the 2005 Region I title, and assisted for six seasons with the softball team, four more with the boys basketball team and another two with the baseball team.

The list of athletes he coached at Queens Lake reads like a Who's Who of Bruton High athletic legends: Bryan Randall, Brandon Randall, Marcus Parrott, Jermaine Burke, Amber Hallman, Kim Martin, Natasha Burnette and Shanna Caldwell. He guided many of his former Queens Lake athletes after they moved to Bruton.

"During my time as head golf coach and assistant in the other sports at Bruton, I've tried to be observant about the monetary and logistical needs of the teams, so I could understand what's necessary," he said. "And I've gleaned a lot of information from some good mentors in (former boys basketball coach) Scott Joyner and (softball coach) Dave Falin."

Onesty becomes AD during a time of significant change at Bruton. Should the Virginia High School League adopt the six classification playoff model as expected starting with 2013-14, Bruton will play in Class 2, making it the only Bay Rivers District school not in Class 3 or 4.

"I only think it impacts the postseason," he said. "I think our Williamsburg rivalries (Lafayette, Jamestown and Warhill) and our York County rivalries (Grafton, Tabb and York) will stay in place and the scheduling will be fairly seamless.

"There will be a postseason impact. Playing against schools our size (in the postseason) will be positive. We've definitely held our own in AA, and if that trend continues, the change should only be positive."

But, like other district athletic directors, Onesty acknowledges that the future of the Bay Rivers is uncertain in the long term. He recognizes that in the future, schools in the same classifications might want to coalesce together in conferences for regular season, as well as postseason, play.

"I think there will be a natural gravitation as we get into it," he said. "But I think we're going to have to play it out. Down the road, it's a possibility, but I don't want to speculate before we see how this works.

"This will upset the apple cart with a lot of districts that have natural rivalries and have been around for a long time. But change is going to happen and should happen over the long haul."

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