Duluth hires Navas as AD
Former Jefferson football coach takes over for Lytle

With Duluth High School trying a new approach with regard to its athletic programs, the administration's choice for its new athletic director seems like one that fits in with the philosophy.

Bill Navas is new to athletic administration, but he will jump into his duties at the school with plenty of enthusiasm even before he officially takes over for the outgoing Denny Lytle this summer.

"I've always wanted to get into administration," said Navas, who comes to Duluth after serving as head football coach at Jefferson High School the past seven years. "And I can still work with kids and coaches and parents in an athletic arena."

The challenges are plenty at Duluth. While the girls basketball program has enjoyed much success over the last two years - reaching the Class AAAAA state semifinals last season and the state quarterfinals this month - many of the Wildcats' other programs have struggled in recent years.

But the way Navas put it, "behind every challenge, there is tremendous opportunity."

While Duluth principal Jason Lane could not be reached for comment, Lytle said Lane had decided to have an athletic director who works with athletics full-time, rather than one who shares other administrative duties as Lytle has.

"When Jason Lane came in last spring, I'd had the title of athletics director the last seven years, but right after that was the letter 'M' for manager," Lytle said. "I also had administrative duties, and that really hurt what I was able to do, I think. (Lane) asked me if I was interested in doing the job full-time, but I told him I thought the Duluth community needed to bring a person in with new ideas. I think they got a good one (in Navas).

"After seven years, I've had fun, but I wanted some other challenge."

Lane has turned to Navas, whom he has known since both were teachers at Hephzibah High School.

Navas certainly brings winning experience to his new job from his previous job as Jefferson's football coach.

He led the Dragons to a 63-47-1 record and a state playoff appearance in each of his seven seasons as coach, including an 11-1 mark last fall.

While he has several ideas of how to bring that success to Duluth, he also realizes he may not have all the answers, which is why he will look to some of the most successful of his soon-to-be peers for their thoughts.

"I'm meeting with (Brookwood athletics director) Mark Kimbro, and I'll maybe reach out to (Buford athletics director) Dexter Wood and others - people of have done it for years - and see what they do to be successful," Navas said. "And I'll be meeting with individual coaches (at Duluth) to get their input."

Two important areas Navas wants to address are related in helping build the foundation for a strong program - fundraising and the youth and middle school feeder programs.

"It takes money to run a good athletic program and I know these times, it's tough to raise money," Navas said. "And any good (high school) sports program has to have a sound feeder program. So, those are two areas we need to look at."