Buening to be Southridge's ADMarch 19, 2020
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — Times are turbulent, but a new development might bring cheer to a few spirits in the high school sports world.
Southridge football and softball coach Scott Buening was named the new Southridge High School athletic director during Thursday night’s Southwest Dubois School Board meeting, confirmed in a phone call by Southridge principal Chad Sickbert to the Herald. Buening has won three sectional titles and a state championship in seven seasons as the Raiders’ football coach. He also won a sectional title last year in his first season coaching softball for the Raiders. He’s eager to keep up the tradition of athletic excellence that has marked Southridge’s sports programs throughout its history.
“It’s an honor,” said Buening. “We have such a strong tradition and school corporation. (I’m) looking forward to this responsibility.”
Buening met with Sickbert in mid-February to toss his hat in for consideration, but he also wasn’t afraid to suggest other candidates he thought would serve the school well in the AD role. Buening learned he was being promoted in the last couple of days before Thursday’s meeting and can’t wait to get to work.
“I initiated the conversation about the position and how the process was going to go,” he said. “I told (Sickbert) I could think of three or four people right off the top of my head I thought would do a really good job in this position. It was a very open process. I’m looking forward to it. I love sports, competition and working with coaches.”
Brett Bardwell, who is retiring at the end of the school year, called Buening a leader amongst the coaches who brings a passion and enthusiasm that motivates everyone around him. Bardwell is confident the Southridge athletic department is in good hands with Buening and will offer any help he can during the transition.
“He’s a great leader,” said Bardwell, who is wrapping up his 21st year as Southridge's AD. “I think he’ll do a fantastic job of taking Southridge to the next level. He really cares about Southridge and the kids. The other coaches respected and listened to him. A lot of times (with) things I wanted to sell to the coaches, I always wanted to get Coach Buening on board first. Anything I can do to help him, I’ll be right there. At the same time, I’m going to make sure I step out of the way and let him put his stamp on the athletic department.”
Buening acknowledged it’s a strange time right now to be bestowed in this new role with the coronavirus interrupting so many facets of life. But he’s encouraged by the community’s response and said it’s reinforced his passion and love for the people of Dubois County.
“You don’t take classes in college on how to deal with these kind of situations,” he said. “All I’ve seen is the community bond together. It’s been very humbling as a community member and someone who works and raises their family here.”
He plans to maintain his post as the Raiders’ head football coach, and he’ll evaluate how he can balance his other responsibilities after the school year. But Buening’s top priority is making sure he does everything in his power to help Southridge’s student-athletes be as successful as possible in all their endeavours.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to grow our athletes,” he said. “There’s lots of factors that go into that. It’s the person first and the skill second. Our athletic department and coaches have done a great job of working together to create an environment where we can manage our kids’ time and give them the opportunity to challenge themselves. We want to keep that going.”
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