Newly appointed athletic director Mike Lee introduced himself to a group of coaches, staff, fans and media Wednesday afternoon.
“I want to be seen as a servant,” Lee said. “I want to facilitate their efforts and ensure the culture of Bryant continues to grow.
“I don’t want to walk around as boss, I am here to help.”
Lee was named the athletic director May 4 during an executive session of a school board personnel hearing. The position comes with a $65,179.20 12-month salary.
Lee said Wednesday that he hopes to be permanently fixed in Bryant as early as July, after his kids finish up their school year.
“I just want to thank coach [Tom] Farmer for this opportunity,” Lee said. “I owe a lot to him.”
He said before accepting the job at Bryant, he has spent most of his life as a “nomad,” but he said he hopes to be in Bryant for a long time.
“I want to plant some oak trees here,” Lee said. “I want to see my kids go through the Bryant school system and graduate.
“I’m excited about this opportunity.”
Before coaching at Van Buren, Lee was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Morrilton High School from 2003-2006. He had previously served as head junior high football coach and assistant baseball coach at Harrison junior and senior high schools.
Along with being a former scouting supervisor for the Kansas City Royals, Lee also held several positions coaching baseball and/or football at Salem High School, Pulaski Academy and Bald Knob High School, and served as a volunteer coach, graduate assistant baseball coach and recruiting coordinator for the University of Central Arkansas.
He and his wife, Catrena, have one son, Evan, 13, who will be in eighth grade next year, and one daughter, Megan, 10, who is going into fifth grade.
Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in physical education and social studies from UCA and a Master of Science in physical education from Arkansas Tech University.
Lee will assume the duties of athletic director July 1, replacing Farmer, who has served as the district’s athletic director since 1990 and will remain with the district as transportation director and assistant maintenance director for facilities.
— Charlie Gocio contributed to this report.