Castilow Is Man Behind The Scenes
For most of us, we show up at the first football or soccer game and hope for a good competition. We think little of field conditions, the uniforms the players will be wearing, or even if the bulbs on the score board are working. But, for Brian Castilow, that has not been the case for the last thirty years. You see, Brian was asked in 1986 to become Magnolia High School’s athletic director. Prior to that, most scheduling and preparations for sporting events were handled by coaches and principals. The position Brian accepted would formalize that process, making it easier. Castilow started out with one filing cabinet and words of encouragement from the principal and coaches.
When Brian first stepped into the position, he was given half-a-day to perform the job. The other half-day, for Castilow, would be spent teaching classes. That journey Brian began long ago, in many ways, changed his life. When I talked with him, I asked if he were to look back over those years, does he think it was a good experience. He responded, “Every job has its ups and downs, but it’s been a good ride.”
I have known Brian for many years. One of the things I remember about him is his humility in doing his job. He never seeks to be the person in the limelight, or take credit for his hard work. Brian understands the job of a good AD is to show up early, stay late and never forget the details – even if the fans, coaches and players have all gone home.
Brian attended Magnolia and graduated in 1966. He went on to West Liberty College where he did his undergraduate work to earn his degree in education. Afterward, he accomplished his graduate work at WVU to earn his degree in counseling and guidance. He also earned a certificate for athletic training.
I tried to calculate the number of sporting events over the last thirty years that Brian would have organized for Magnolia. Just in regular seasons, you would have to add 300 football games, 1200 baseball and softball games and 1200 basketball games. Add in all the other sports, and you soon realize that the half-a-day job turned into a great many evenings and weekends to make the athletic program run smoothly. Brian also remembers the thousands of athletes and dozens of coaches who played in those games over three decades. I never asked, but I am sure he also remembers a great many moms and dads who trusted him to run a responsible athletic program. Finally, add in the thousands of Blue Eagle fans who came to watch those games, and you soon realize how many lives he has touched over the years. As far as I know, Brian never asked for praise; he only did his half-a-day job.
When I asked Brian if he thought he would be doing this job for thirty years, he told me no. He went on to explain how when he began his job, it was done with pencil and paper, spending time calling other schools to set up schedules for games. Today it is done with computers, email, and even sometimes social media.
One thing that has not changed in all those years is a piece of advice given to him that first year: “Put them out there to play in the best equipment you can. It is good for the kids and the longevity of the equipment. You buy cheap and you’ll have to buy again.” Principal George Mullet
Mr. Mullet’s words resonated over the years with Brian when it has come to purchasing sporting equipment. With those words of wisdom, he pointed out one of the greatest assets Magnolia’s sports has – the booster organizations. Castilow explained to me that only with the help of those organizations can the school support the many different programs. The support from the boosters helps in buying uniforms and many other items for the teams. The high school sports budget provides for equipment such as bats and balls, shoulder pads and helmets, and some sport uniforms.
I asked if the old sport adage is true: football is the king of high school sports revenue? Castilow explained, at Magnolia, it is true football and basketball make up a large part of the yearly sports budget. Revenue generated from those two sports helps funding with others, especially those that are non-revenue generating programs. Castilow indicated that if major sports revenues were to fall off, it would affect not only sporting programs, but it would also have an effect on the school.
At events I attend, I see Castilow taking care of the small details he never misses. I asked if he ever gets to sit and watch a game. He responded, “Very seldom, sometimes at away games, but you never know if something will come up and I am expected to take care of it. But, fortunately this rarely happens on the road or at home.” I would expect because of Brian’s attention to details, few things miss his attention. He told me to do the job right a person has to be a little obsessive-compulsive and not miss details.
I asked Tom Rataiczak, Executive Secretary/ Treasurer of the OVAC, for his thoughts on Brian and his years of service:
“Brian Castilow is the consummate AD. In a day when the average AD in the Conference last 7.4 years, Brian has stood firmly in the batter’s box and kept swinging away for thirty years. His love for Magnolia High School shows through in everything he does. MHS won’t begin to realize how much he does until he retires, IF he ever does. Often his efforts go unnoticed because everyone has become accustomed to having everything done the way he always does it. No detail is overlooked when it comes to him welcoming other schools into his beloved Magnolia.
The “disagreements” we’ve had, and they’ve been very few, always focus on his defense of MHS and fighting for his kids and his coaches. That’s why he’s lasted as long as he has. His heart is 100% in the right place and his focus is laser sharp. I just hope he remains there until I retire.”
I asked Brian if after all these years, he has ever thought about retiring. He hesitated, as if he even wanted to answer my question. Finally he explained that if he were to retire from teaching, he would still like to do the duties of the AD. But, that would be up to the board of education if that was possible. He indicated the day to think of retirement had not yet arrived; again he paused, as he once again thought about his words.
Brian Castilow is one of those people I have met in my life whom I believe is an asset to both his school and his community. He is unlikely to step forward and take a bow or look to be immortalized in bronze in the commons areas of MHS. But, he is one of those rare people who believes doing a job right and paying attention to details is its own reward. I will consider his friendship to be one I will remember and prize when I think of Magnolia Sports Through the Lens.