After 31 years in education, the last 16 as the activities director at William Chrisman High School, Dan Ogle admits he's a bit worn out, and he also won't mind the chance to simply attend sporting events as a fan.
Ogle is retiring at the end of this school year, a decision the 56-year-old said he arrived at in October.
“It was the week of the Truman-Chrisman (football) game,” Ogle said. “My (older) kids were in town to see the game (youngest sons Gannon and Grady are members of the Bears football team), and it was a good time to talk to them and make that decision.
“Now’s the right time from a retirement standpoint because I’m tired, and it’s most financially beneficial.”
Ogle, who graduated from Chrisman’s crosstown rival Truman High School in 1976 and later from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said he’ll welcome having his mind less occupied at his sons’ games.
“When I do stand on the sidelines, obviously I’m rooting for the Bears, but I have to evaluate coaches,” he said. “I have to keep everything introspective because of that. Now, I can be a bit more of an unabashed dad, if you will.
“I’m still to going to have the relationships; what I’m going to miss is the interactions with people,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of this job to like. I enjoy working with the other ADs setting up schedules, and setting up for a contest is exciting.”
Ogle said he won’t miss a lot of the daily grind, but he will particularly miss preparations for the Wagon Wheel Trophy football game between Chrisman and Truman, as well as contests between the two in basketball and volleyball. For six years the basketball meetings happened at Municipal Auditorium and later the Independence Events Center, and this past September marked the second edition of Volleyball on the Square, held outdoors Labor Day morning as part of the Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival.
“There’s a lot of excitement that goes into that,” he said of the Wagon Wheel game. “The volleyball at Santa-Cali-Gon, to see the kids participate and get excited about that was fun.”
At last week’s boys basketball edition of the rivalry at Chrisman, Truman activities director Eric Holm presented Ogle with a large poster displaying a panoramic view of Volleyball on the Square as a retirement gift. Holm said that poster perhaps best symbolizes the working connection he’s shared with Ogle.
“That was one of the classic ones of bouncing ideas off each other, and then two old guys going to Kansas City, Kansas, and loading (pieces of) that court into a van in 100-degree heat,” Holm said. “That picture to me, encompasses everything about being an AD and our relationship.
“I think Dan would tell you he’s proud of that event and all the things that go along with working together to make that happen.”
Holm said Ogle’s experience was helpful when the former started his position at Truman.
“Dan has a great manner,” said Holm, who is in his ninth year as Truman’s AD. “We all have people that in our professions that understand what we’re going through. Dan’s been able to do that. He’s been there to share, commiserate, whatever. There’s a lot of things in an AD’s job that are behind the scenes, that people don’t see.”
Mike Becker, Chrisman’s principal, lauded Ogle’s investment with the students and community.
“This has really been home his whole life, in Independence,” Becker said. “He’s somebody that absolutely bleeds blue and gold, and it’s always something he’s taken great pride in.
“He’s been a fixture here for many years. We’ll still see Dan, but it’ll just be in a different capacity. It will be different for all of us.”
Ogle has officiated basketball games for 39 years, and that’s one thing he doesn’t plan to give up soon.
“It’s kind of always been my outlet,” he said. “For a couple hours I could go and let off steam and get some exercise. It’s probably the one thing I’m going to do more of in the future. I’d like to think I’ve got five or six more years on these old legs.
“It’s been a good run, a lot of fun, and I’ve met a lot of good people.”