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High Schools

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Panthers shift season finale

Isaacs to end tenure as Snider AD

Isaacs

– Snider will no longer make history in its regular-season football finale.

The Panthers were originally scheduled to play Wayne on Oct. 18 at Bowser Field. The game would have been the first on-campus varsity football game for Snider.

But after looking over the logistics, Snider athletic director Russ Isaacs said Sunday the game will not be played at Bowser and will be shifted to Northrop’s Spuller Stadium. The Panthers’ game against the Generals will be played Oct. 19.

“Typical sporting event concerns: parking, traffic, seating, crowd movement before and after the game,” Isaacs said of the move.

Snider was to play at Bowser Field because Northrop is scheduled to finish the season on Oct. 18 at Spuller. The Panthers originally wanted to play on the same day so they would finish their season on a Friday instead of a Saturday because playoffs would start the next week.

The concern about losing a day of playoff preparation went away when Snider learned it had a bye week to begin the postseason.

“Had we known about the bye week, we would have scheduled to play on Saturday anyway,” said Isaacs, who learned about the bye late in the spring.

These are issues that Isaacs will not have to worry about after this school year.

Isaacs intends to retire after working at Snider since 1976.

Isaacs has filled a variety of positions with the Panthers including assistant football coach from 1976 to ’91, head football coach from 1991 to 2009 and wrestling coach. He assumed the athletic director position in 2009, taking over for Mike Hawley.

Isaacs’ position as head football coach included a Class 5A state championship title in 1992, two appearances in the state finals and nine SAC titles.

Despite having been at the top, Isaacs is respected by many as one who was always willing to learn more about the sport.

“He was always one to be paying attention at various clinics and camps,” Bishop Dwenger football coach Chris Svarczkopf said. “He is a selfless and tireless worker, always wanting the best out of his athletes in and out of the classroom.”

Svarczkopf has known Isaacs for 35 years in every position he held at Snider.

“One thing I respect about him is that he always wanted to do the right thing,” Svarczkopf said. “He was present at every JV and freshman football game, and that kind of commitment is why Snider remains a powerhouse in the football community.”

North Side athletic director Dale Doerffler worked with Isaacs at Snider from 1977-79.

“Russ has been a role model for students and athletes and a good representative for Snider High School and Fort Wayne Community Schools,” Doeffler said.

Isaacs still isn’t sure what he will do after this school year.

“I don’t intend to quit working,” Isaacs said, “I will just do something different and go on a different career path. I have until the end of the year to figure it out.”

Doerffler said Isaacs will leave Snider with some big shoes to fill.

“Russ brought consistency to the school,” he said. “He has been there so long that he has become the face of Snider High School.”

It was difficult for Isaacs to narrow down a favorite moment.

“I think the best part of the job was the time I spent with the coaches that I worked with for many, many years,” he said. “Snider is a wonderful place, and there’s no place I would have rather worked.”

areichel@jg.net

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