Suffolk’s newest AD hopes to teach kids to be winners on and off the field

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Beth Mair has spent much of her life winning.

As a high schooler back in Streeter, Ill., she lettered in softball all four years, and was inducted to the Streeter High School Hall of Fame. At Western Illinois University, she helped her team to two World Series, and played in the 1982 National Sports Festival in Indianapolis with the nation’s best. Mair coached the Hampton High School Peninsula District softball title in the early 1990s, and coached softball and swimming at Phoebus.


Email newsletter signup

However, she always knew that the most important lessons that she’d learn on the field had nothing to do with hitting a cutoff person, knowing when to hit and run, or how much of a lead to take for a stolen base.

&uot;I learned at a very early age that people should play because of a love of the game,&uot; said King’s Fork High School’s first athletic director. &uot;When I was young, my sisters and I would play ball with my uncle, and if one of us acted up, we were gone. Kids playing high school sports sometimes lose focus; they go out trying to get a scholarship, just thinking about winning. I want them to take the love for the game with them, and learn to be social and interact with people. I’m not trying to produce NBA superstars, just well-rounded citizens who know how to interact.&uot; During the 2004-05 sports season, Mair plans for every team to hand out sportsmanship patches, and hang banners encouraging sportsmanship around the school. Before each game, a sportsmanship pledge will be read, and Mair noted winning the Wachovia Bank Sportsmanship Award as one of her goals.

After 15 years as a physical education instructor at Hampton’s Booker Elementary School, Mair became the instructional leader for Phoebus’ physical education program. While coaching softball and swimming, she was the co-athletic director, a position she held until last June.

&uot;I wanted to have my own program,&uot; she said of her reasons for applying for the King’s Fork job. &uot;This gives me a chance to start from the ground up.&uot; Mair is the second woman in Suffolk history to hold a public school’s position as the sole athletic director, and the first since Suffolk entered the Southeastern District roughly a decade ago (Nancy Richy, now at Nansemond River, acted as Suffolk High School’s athletic director for a brief period in the 1980s).

&uot;I don’t think gender is an issue,&uot; Mair said with a smile. &uot;I think people just see me as a person who cares about kids and know what I’m talking about.&uot;

1. Name: Beth Mair

2. Age: 42

3. Hometown: Windsor

4. Family: David- father, Barbara – mother, Debbie and Sue – sisters, Dave – brother, Riley and Abby – pet boxers

5. Education: B.S. in physical education at Western Illinois University

6. Career/occupation: Physical education teacher for 15 years

7. Favorite thing about Suffolk: Downtown – the old buildings and friendly people

8. Why did you pursue your chosen career?

Wonderful coaches when I was growing up

9. Favorite thing about your job: Using my organizational skills and helping children

10. Least favorite thing about your job: I don’t spend as much time with children as I did when I was a full-time teacher.

11. What accomplishments are you proudest of? Playing in two softball college world series and being inducted into my high school Hall of Fame

12. Who or what motivates and inspires you? My parents

13. Favorite way to spend free time: With my boxer dogs

14. What words of wisdom would you like to share with others? Smile – it may the day go quicker.

15. What ingredients are in the recipe for a good life? Honesty, loyalty and family time

16. We all have our 15 minutes of fame in this life. How would you spend you time in the spotlight? Thanking the people who got me there