By: Tim Birney | | August 27, 2019 | Photo courtesy Tim Birney


ATHENS — When the athletic director position came open  at Athens Area High School, J.B. Sullivan thought it would the "perfect fit" for him.

Sullivan, a Towanda grad, should be a familiar face for many Athens fans, considering he’s spent the last 15 years officiating basketball and soccer in the NTL.

“There’s no doubt my heart has always been with sports. I’m a sports junkie. I love watching sports, I love playing sports, and I love officiating sports.

“It’s a great change for me,” said Sullivan, who has been the branch manager at the First Citizens Community Bank for the last few years. “Sports has been a passion of mine my entire life. I’m excited to work with the coaches and the athletes.

“While it’s different for me, the adjustment is going well,” he added.

Sullivan has hopes of improving the number of students participating in extra-curricular activities.

“Seeing all these kids out here participating is nice,” said Sullivan. “One thing I’m pretty excited about is the level of participation we have at Athens. We have 230 people participating extra-curricular activities in the fall, including fall sports, the band, and color guard.

“That said, I’d like to see the numbers even higher,” noted Sullivan. “I’m going to encourage all our student-athletes to play three sports, and explore as many opportunities within the school as possible. I think there’s so much to be gained from sports and athletic competition.

“There are so many things you can learn being part of a team — teamwork, competitiveness, and dependability to name a few,” added Sullivan. “I’m envious of those kids out there competing now because I remember how important it was to me 20 years ago, and I want all these kids to have a wonderful experience, too.”

One of Sullivan’s main priorities is trying to increase attendance at Athens home games.

“One of the things we’re trying to do in the (school) district is to encourage the elementary school kids to come out to the games, which could help with participation numbers later on” he said.

“We’re also trying to improve the support from within the community,” noted Sullivan. “One thing that would make me happy in my job is to increase attendance at all of our home games. These kids work really hard, and I think they deserve to be recognized.

“One of my initiatives is going to be increase attendance, and activate the community behind these athletes,” Sullivan added.

Sullivan has been on the job since July 1.

“There are certainly more facets of the job behind the scenes than I anticipated, but I’m excited to learn, and look forward to the experience,” he said.

Sullivan knows he has to work closely with his coaches.

“It’s extremely important for me to have a good working relationship with our coaches,” he said. “Most of the coaches here I’ve known. I think they do an excellent job, and I’m looking forward to working with them.

“We have to advocate for our athletes, have their backs, and make sure we’re doing the best for them we possibly can,” noted Sullivan. “I want them all to have an excellent athletic experience.”

Sullivan biggest concerns about the new job?

“Making sure we have buses for every road game, officials for every home game, and the right number of teams at every game,” laughed Sullivan. “That’s not schtick, that’s true.”


About the Author

Tim Birney Author Bio
Tim Birney

Tim Birney is the founder / owner of River Road Media Group. He was born and raised in the Valley, graduating from Waverly High School in 1984.

Birney earned an Associate's Degree in Journalism from SUNY Morrisville in 1986 and a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism / Public Relations from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1988. He began his newspaper career at The Daily Review in Towanda in 1989, before moving on to The Evening Times in 1995. He spent more than 10 years at the Times, the last four as Managing Editor.

River Road Media Group includes five sites in "The Sports Reports" family that cover 24 school districts in five counties: Valley Sports Report (launched Aug. 10, 2009), Tioga County (NY) Sports Report (Aug. 13, 2018), and Northern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 31, 2020); Northern Tier West Sports Report (March 15, 2021) Southern Tier Sports Report (Aug. 16, 2021).