When Dave Lanham became athletic director at Severna Park in 2014, he was looking forward to the logistical challenge of handling the upcoming construction of the new school.
Now that the new school has been built and more championships have been won, it’s time for Lanham to move on to a new challenge.
Lanham, a Maryland resident for his entire life outside of his four years at Pfeiffer College in North Carolina, recently announced he and his family are moving to Florida. His last day of employment for Anne Arundel County Public Schools is June 21, then he and his family will head for the Sunshine State.
“To me it was a challenge, but I didn’t look at it as a negative,” Lanham said about dealing with the construction of the new school and athletic facilities. “I wanted to make it as smooth as a transition as possible and I think we made the most out of the situation.”
Lanham officially announced his move on May 14, just as Severna Park’s spring sports teams were moving through the playoffs. The spring, and Lanham’s tenure, ended with boys and girls lacrosse championships, a girls doubles state championship in tennis and numerous individual region and state-championship performances from the track and field team.
“The Office of Athletics would like to thank Dave for his many forward thinking and proactive contributions to our county while he served as a teacher, coach, sport commissioner, MPSSAA representative and athletic director at Meade and Severna Park High schools,” said Clayton Culp, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Coordinator of Athletics. “Dave is a great model for coaches and student-athletes. We wish him and his family all the best in Florida.”
Lanham was at Paint Branch High School on May 22 and was fortunate enough to present state-championship medals and plaques to the boys and girls lacrosse teams.
“I told him when I hugged him, ‘We got you one more before you left,’” Severna Park girls lacrosse coach Kaitlyn Hines said. “He put in a lot of hard work for us.”
That night was a chance for some reflection for Lanham, just as it was on May 16 when both lacrosse teams won region titles at one of the final events presided over by Lanham at the new stadium.
“I had a moment on the field by myself,” he said. “I was looking around and trying to take in the moment and appreciate all the opportunities I’ve been given.”
Lanham will pursue opportunities as an athletic director, or anything else that could present itself, to utilize his experience and education in athletic leadership and administration. His career began in 1996 as a physical education and health teacher and assistant athletic director at Archbishop Spalding.
Lanham was also the Cavaliers baseball coach from 1998-2002 before moving on to St. Mary’s, where he was the athletic director and head baseball coach from 2002-2008.
He then transitioned to Meade High as the athletic director from 2008-2014 prior to taking the same position at Severna Park.
While at Severna Park, he was named Touchdown Club Athletic Director of the Year in 2014, the District V Athletic Director of the Year in 2016 and the Maryland State Athletic Directors Association Athletic Director of the Year in 2017. Earlier in his career, he was named the District 11 Athletic Director of the Year in 2008 while at St. Mary’s.
“We wish Mr. Lanham well as he and his family move to Florida,” Severna Park principal Patrick Bathras said in a statement. “Mr. Lanham has done a fantastic job in supervising athletics over the years at Severna Park High School, and we thank him for his dedication and service to the Severna Park community.”
Lanham, a 1992 Glen Burnie High School graduate, managed 280 coaches during his athletic director tenures at St. Mary’s, Meade and Severna Park.
“Dave set the tone for the kind of AD he would be after our first home match in his first year,” volleyball coach Tim Dunbar said. “There he was cleaning up the gym and putting away equipment right alongside the players. That's the kind of AD he proved to be — one that wasn't above getting right down with everyone else to do the dirty work.”
Lanham also helped oversee improvements at each of his stops in the county. He was Involved in designing, planning, and managing a new synthetic turf field that was installed in the summer of 2007 at St. Mary’s. He did the same at Meade in 2009 in addition to helping raise $350,000 to build a new concession stand and ticket booth.
Of course, his biggest project was at Severna Park. When he began, the Falcons were in the old building. Soon that building was torn down and construction began on the new school. Games and practices were moved to Kinder Farm Park, while some teams played “home” games at various other schools and facilities around the county.
“Dave is a coach's AD. Extremely supportive,” boys basketball coach Paul Pellicani said. “It is common for him to say, 'What can I do to help you do your job better?’ He understood the time that coaches put in to do it right. On the event side, our home games were well organized. He made a point to welcome every visiting team and game officials personally.”
Along the way, Lanham always had the respect of his coaches. A former coach himself and the son of a coach, he understands the role coaches play in the careers of student-athletes.
“Dave has been an extremely supportive AD and has been an integral part in allowing us to do the things we need to do in elevating our program to its current level,” cross country and track coach Josh Alcombright said.