Michael Duffy took over as Carroll County’s supervisor of athletics in late July, making the move from Howard County, where he spent time as a coach, teacher and athletic director.
Duffy, a Towson native, attended Loch Raven High School and graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1996 with a degree in special education. He landed his first teaching job at Elkridge Landing Middle School in Howard County and spent three years there before accepting a teaching position at Mount Hebron High, where he spent seven years teaching and nine coaching the Vikings’ wrestling team.
Duffy, 45, spent his last five years at Mount Hebron as the AD prior to accepting the same job at Howard High in July 2006, where he remained for 13 years. The Times recently caught up with Duffy as he prepared to make a tour around Carroll during the first few days of high school fall sports practices.
Q: How has the first month gone with your new job?
A: I think the first month has been great. I have been acclimating to the new position and meeting with the school athletic directors and principals to discuss the current state and the future of [Carroll County Public Schools] athletics. It has become perfectly clear how fortunate I am to work with such a dedicated group of people focused on the needs of our students.
Q: What has been the biggest hurdle in making the transition from Howard County to Carroll?
A: I think perhaps the biggest hurdle is getting to know everyone. I am working to remember hundreds of names and be as visible and accessible as I can. Fortunately everyone has been very warm and welcoming, which has certainly aided the transition.
Q: What’s the first week of fall sports tryouts like for the county’s supervisor of athletics?
A: For me the first week is busy. The day before tryouts we had our county coach meeting where I was honored to meet so many of our fall coaches and review policies and procedures for the upcoming school year. This is certainly a dedicated group of professionals who are invested in our students. Now it is my opportunity to see tryouts at the different schools. I will make it to each school before the end of the week. For me, I liken it to the new year. It is definitely a time of optimism and excitement across the county.
A: I am a fan of high school sports. Without getting too far ahead of myself, since tryouts just began, I am looking forward to the games. I enjoy watching our students achieve in an activity that gives them enjoyment. It does not really matter which sport it is. I enjoy them all.
Q: How have high school sports changed since you were that age?
A: I think perhaps the biggest change from my time as a high school athlete has been the out-of-season commitment from students, coaches and families. Our students are working hard to be ready for the start of the season just to maintain. The coaches, likewise, are diligently preparing during the off-season as well. In just the few weeks since I began, I would travel to the schools and witness the amount of time students and coaches were taking to improve just to hit the ground running on day one. That level of commitment is outstanding and I look forward to seeing it pay dividends.
Q: Do you think Carroll County will be joining the turf field world in the near future?
A: I honestly do not know. I know it has been on a lot of people’s minds, but at this time, I do not have enough information to offer much of an opinion or prediction. I think one of the things we need to do is recognize and applaud the dedication our schools and athletic directors have to get our fields ready each and every day. It is truly a thankless job but they embrace it to provide our students with the best possible experience.