News Post

Andy Pogach is Named Next Director of Athletics
Andy Pogach is Named Next Director of Athletics

Durham Academy Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner has announced the appointment of Andy Pogach as DA’s new director of athletics, beginning July 1, 2019.

DA launched a national search in late fall after Steve Engebretsen, DA’s longest-serving director of athletics, announced his intention to step down. The school received more than 80 applications for the position. “As it turned out, the best candidate was in plain sight,” Ulku-Steiner said.

"I am honored and excited to be the next leader of DA athletics and build on the traditions and success during Steve's tenure here,” Pogach said. “I want to thank Michael, Assistant Head of School Kristen Klein and the entire search committee for their support and hard work during this process. I am looking forward to working with our outstanding coaches, teachers and entire school community to make sure that our student-athletes have the best possible experience."

Pogach currently serves as one of DA’s two assistant directors of athletics in addition to his roles as Middle School math and PE teacher, varsity girls tennis coach, JV boys basketball coach, varsity boys basketball assistant coach and DA’s sports information director. Find out more about Pogach and his path to DA — from his years as an independent school student-athlete in Delaware, through his work in the athletic programs at the University of Pennsylvania and UNC-Chapel Hill, to his 11 years at DA — in this Faculty Spotlight from spring 2016

Pogach said his overall goal for DA athletics is to put the student-athlete experience at the center of every decision “whether they are on the bench for the green soccer team or the star of the varsity field hockey team headed for a Division I scholarship.” Support for DA’s coaching staff is “paramount because they give our students these experiences and life lessons. Life lessons learned on and off the field go hand-in-hand with our students’ experiences in the classroom and in the arts.” Pogach also believes a strong athletics program can connect an entire community. “Whether it is our young Lower Schoolers attending a basketball clinic hosted by members of our varsity team, our Middle School students cheering like crazy at our varsity ‘game of the week’ or a member of our faculty sitting on the bench with the soccer team, athletics can be used as a glue to bring the entire school together and create experiences beyond the classroom.”

Engebretsen has witnessed Pogach’s growth and development firsthand and said DA athletics will benefit from Pogach’s approach, experience, energy and ideas. “I have been at Durham Academy for 38 years and been the athletic director for 28 years. In that time, no young coach or staff member has put as much time and energy into learning about and supporting the athletic program as Andy Pogach. I believe that he’ll work tirelessly to support and continue what we do well; plan and make strides to study and improve where improvement should be made; and with the support of coaches, parents and administration, provide a vision for the future of DA athletics. I have no doubt that Andy will grow and improve as an administrator as he steps into this role. I’m proud of him and will be his number one fan and supporter.”

Groups involved in the search process — DA’s Administrative Team, teachers and coaches from all teams and levels, student and parent committees (see below) — have invested a substantial amount of time in the process since November. They worked to review applications, interview semifinalists, meet with finalists and discern the best candidate for this role. The search committee was inspired by Pogach’s innovative ideas and impressed with his experience and personality.

Comments about Pogach’s candidacy from students, teachers, coaches and parents at DA accentuated his great fit for the position “because he gets along so well with what seems like every student,” his “love for sports that extends beyond winning,” his skills as a relationship/community builder with “level of organization and professionalism [that] is second to none,” and his position as a respected member of conference and state organizations where he “is relied upon for advice, leadership and fairness within All-Conference, All-State and tournament selection committees.”

Colleagues also noted Pogach’s drive to continually grow and develop DA’s athletics program. In his role as DA’s first sports information director, Pogach has been responsible for promoting DA athletics to prospective and current families, the community and local media by publicizing and celebrating the accomplishments of DA student-athletes and teams. One coach called Pogach’s clear love of Durham Academy “the proverbial icing on the cake, as it comes through in all of the aforementioned qualities and achievements.”

“DA is going to be in great hands under Andy’s leadership,” said Virginia Hall ’91, Middle School history teacher and JV boys and girls cross-country and track coach. “He has a true love and passion for the school. He is always eager to be involved and do what it takes to put our students first and to get to know them as people with potential and dreams. He genuinely ‘gets’ DA as we are now, yet has a vision for the role of athletics and how it can make a student’s experience at DA a memorable and positive one. I especially appreciate his views on representing DA in the best way possible by holding everyone to high standards and striving for excellence and creating a community where we value these experiences. He’s a sincere champion of our kids and coaches, and I’m excited for DA — Go Cavs!”

Athletic Director Search Committee
  • Susan Ellis — varsity girls soccer coach and Middle School PE teacher  

  • Meghan Fulton — athletic trainer and Preschool parent  

  • Nikki Graves — JV girls basketball coach, pre-k teacher, Middle School and Upper School parent   

  • Virginia Hall ’91 — JV boys and girls cross-country and track coach, Middle School history teacher, Middle School parent

  • Tyrone Gould — varsity baseball coach, Middle School math teacher, Preschool parent  

  • Kristen Klein — assistant head of school  

  • Tim McKenna — varsity basketball coach, director of alumni engagement, Middle School and Upper School parent

  • Verle Regnerus — assistant Upper School director, Upper School math teacher, alumni parent  

  • Michael Ulku-Steiner — head of school, Upper School and alumnus parent  

Student Life Advisory Board
  • Brooke Aurentz

  • Tanner Barry

  • Isabella Eley

  • Clayton Heard

  • James Knowles

  • Emily Norry

  • Carina Rockart

  • Spencer Sapir

  • Davi Sapiro-Gheiler

  • Cole Sinclair

  • McKinley Windram

Parent Athletic Council
  • Rhonda Adams

  • Stephanie Aurentz

  • Tom Barry

  • Erica Caveney

  • Nathan Hanks

  • Linsey Hughes

  • Sheri Morano

  • Morgan Moylan

  • Jennifer Nichols

  • Robyn Owens

  • Tom Pfeil

  • Garrett Putman ’94

  • Debbie Rand

  • Debbie Savarino

  • Marel Woody