Quince Orchard High School Athletic Director (AD) George Awkard is leaving QO this summer to take on the challenge of rebuilding the athletic program at his alma mater, John F. Kennedy High School in Silver Spring.
“This is one of the toughest moves I have had to make,” said Awkard, who has served as QO’s AD the past four years. He cited two reasons for his decision: family matters including recent health issues with his father and the opportunity “to take on the humongous challenge of putting the program back together. There are few times in your career you get the opportunity to step in and be an actual change agent.”
Awkard is a 1990 graduate of JFK, where he played basketball and baseball, and calls it “the school I grew up at and kind of raised me.” Awkard came to QO from Sherwood and talked about how fortunate he has been to work “with some of the best people in athletic programs in the state.”
“I can’t say enough positive things about QO,” he said. “There are very few places you can go in this county with the support of the community, dedication and commitment of the administration and the staff, and wonderful, wonderful kids” like at QO.
He raved about the community’s support for QO sports. “For every sport—allied sports like bocce—it’s just incredible! Wall-to-wall people for baseball games, soccer games, volleyball games. It’s the thing in the community.”
Awkard noted with pride the athletic teams’ accomplishments during the past four years—including trips to state finals in baseball, football and basketball—and improvements to the athletic program, including upgrades to the Cougardome and other facilities and the recent sports awards night program and introduction of all-team awards.
He said he will miss QO’s school spirit, especially during football season when “the entire building is a sea of red at 7:30 in the morning. Incredible!” He is “especially going to miss this junior and senior class. I kind of feel like I helped raise them.” He added that he expects big things from QO athletics over the next two years, and “I’ll still be watching them, watching how they do.”
“We will miss Mr. Awkard and his energy and enthusiasm for all things Cougar,” said QO Principal Carole Working, “and we wish him all the best as he returns to shepherd the sports program at his alma mater.”
As to finding Awkard’s replacement, the position has been advertised and the recruitment process is underway. Working said, “We are very fortunate to have a strong field of candidates … and hope to have a new athletic director by the end of this week.”
“It’s a big job being the AD at QO,” Awkard said, and he is certain the school will find a good candidate. “He or she has great people, great coaches and great kids.”