Although Nathan Bobek, Chris Ludban and Eric Ryan realize a rivalry exists amongst their programs, the athletics directors at Hilliard Bradley, Darby and Davidson high schools have a common goal.
Each is looking to continue his program's commitment to excellence.
Bobek has taken over at Davidson, replacing Mark Princehorn, who retired Feb 28 after holding the position for 15 years.
"Whatever contest it is, whenever it is Hilliard versus Hilliard, there's automatically a rival there," Bobek said. "We like (the community rivalry), it's healthy. But we realize it's about the kids and all three of us are in it for the same reason -- that's to provide our kids with great opportunities and a great experience as they go through Hilliard City Schools through athletics."
Ludban has replaced Nick McIlwain at Darby. McIlwain, who was the Panthers' athletics director for only one year, stepped down to become an assistant principal at Westerville Central.
"(Superintendent) Dr. (John) Marschhausen and the central office (for Hilliard City Schools) has done an outstanding job of creating an atmosphere where all three athletic departments can come together as one and talk and share ideas, but also we have the ability to have our own identity," Ludban said.
Ryan has taken over at Bradley for Nic Gaston, who stepped down after two years as athletics director to become an assistant principal at Heritage Middle School.
"It's important that (the three Hilliard athletics directors) work together," Ryan said. "We all get along pretty well and that makes things go a lot easier."
Bobek, who was an assistant principal at Davidson the last six years, handled both positions for the final three months of the school year. He credits Princehorn for maintaining a solid athletics department and making sure that the transition went smoothly.
"I'm never going to be Mark, but I know what he's done for Davidson High School," said Bobek, who also praised athletics secretary Robin Richards for helping him during the transition. "He did an excellent job. So filling those shoes, as overwhelming as it can be at times, it's still a great thing and a challenge that I'm definitely up for."
Bobek, 40, is a 1992 Shadyside High School graduate and a 1996 graduate of Valparaiso University, where he played football. In addition to Davidson, he will oversee the athletics department at Weaver Middle School.
"I love this," Bobek said of his new position. "I've always been somebody that is always up for a challenge, and learning the new position and learning everything that's going along with it has been a challenge. It's been overwhelming at times, but at the end of the day when we finally get things the way we want to get them and get them working, it's going to be worth every minute that you spend here."
Pending school board approval, Jay Cauley will be an assistant athletics director at both Davidson and Weaver. He would replace Angelo Forte, who stepped down from the position to teach English at Bradley.
Cauley recently stepped down as coach of Davidson's boys volleyball team. He had held the position for eight seasons.
Ludban, 35, is a 1997 Willard High School graduate and a 2001 graduate of Ohio State, where he played baseball, basketball and football.
Ludban, who was the assistant athletics director at Darby the past three years, also will serve as the athletics director for Heritage.
"We're excited about the things we have going on at Darby," he said. "We look to continue some success that we've had in some sports and are looking to grow the programs in other areas."
Erin McClincy recently resigned after a five-year stint as softball coach at Darby to become the school's assistant athletics director. Ludban said Shawn Papp has been named McClincy's successor.
Ryan, 41, is a 1991 Hilliard graduate who competed in football and wrestling and graduated from Ohio University in 1995. He was the assistant athletics director at Bradley this past school year.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Ryan, who also is serving as athletics director at Memorial Middle School. "I like (Bobek and Ludban), I like working with them. I'm going to miss Nic. He was a good guy. I really enjoyed working with him, but I've been lucky to have experiences with some of the best staff members at Memorial and I've really gotten to know the Bradley staff and administrators in the last year and I really enjoy working with them, too."
Pending school board approval, Brian Rawlins will serve as the assistant athletics director at Bradley.