By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

Eckman says goodbye to Amity High

Eckman, the 2013 3A Athletic Director of the Year as voted on by the Oregon Athletic Directors Association, is leaving education to take a position in the construction business owned by his wife’s family.

“This place was really accepting,” Eckman said last week, “and it’s tough to leave because you’ve built so many relationships.”

Eckman, 30, has been at Amity for eight years, the last seven of which he spent as its athletic director. He coached just about every sport. He was the head girls basketball coach as well as girls golf. He spent time coaching softball, baseball, softball and football. This past season, after the sudden resignation of Amity football coach Matt Arnold, Eckman stepped in and steered the Warriors to four wins in a row to end the season. Eckman said there isn’t one specific thing he will remember for his time in the Yamhill Valley, though there are hundreds of instances where he saw kids work hard and succeed in sports and in the classroom.

“Seeing those success stories has been the biggest thing for me,” he said.

Eckman took over for former athletic director Steve Morris and said he’s tried to leave the department in a better spot then when he started. He said the athletics department is organized and efficient, and he helped start the Amity Athletic Hall of Fame. Lately, his goal has been to streamline things for his successor.

“I’m trying to leave it where someone could come in, sit down at the desk and watch it run,” he said.

Eckman said his wife and he did not make the decision to move back to Central Oregon — where both of them are from — lightly. He said the opportunity to work in a management position in his wife’s family’s construction business came up, and they thought about moving their three girls — ages 4, 3 and 1 — closer to their relatives.

Eckman started teaching at Amity right after he finished his graduate degree at Western Oregon University. Since then, he said it has been a blur.

“What I’ve noticed isn’t necessarily what I’ve done but it’s what we’ve done while I’m here,” he said.

He could not have been more appreciative of his coworkers, who he said impressed him with their commitment to the students.

“This is one of the best staffs I’ve worked with in the high school and district wide,” he said. “Just seeing everyone pull together and see the focus be put on the kids has been really huge for me.”

At Amity’s graduation a couple of weeks ago, Eckman gave a speech and gave the Class of 2013 a lighthearted rap performance, apparently fulfilling a promise he gave to them in the past. He said he was a man of his word, and his actions echo his sentiment that interacting with students was always one of his favorite parts of the job.

“I’m going to miss the kids,” he said.

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