Rich Roy is retiring as F-M's athletic director after 22 years.
When he took over in 1990, he had spent a total of three years as athletic director of Hannibal, but says he was still “new” to the job. In his first year at F-M, the school, due to serious budget issues, had in place a pay-to-play system that forced families to dole out cash for Johnny or Joanna to participate in a sport. The rest of the money for the department came through the booster club’s various fund-raising activities.
The other big issue was that there were just seven teams total for seventh-graders on up, which meant the younger students had the slimmest of chances of being able to participate in those sports. Roy said because the older kids had put in the time, they were usually the ones who saw all the action on the field.
The following year the budget was passed and Roy hit the books. He must have studied insanely well, because over the following three years every sport added a freshman and junior varsity team. F-M currently has 29 teams, which Roy says gives more than 1,000 athletic opportunities at the school.
“We made a plan and stuck to it, which helped a bunch of kids get the chance to play sports,” he added.
Roy said that, on average, F-M takes home between 12 and 15 league titles per year. Though definitive answers are difficult to calculate, Roy did offer a few estimates.
“You’d have to come and look at the banners in the gym, and I’m not sure you’d still have an accurate answer,” he said. “But in my 22 years, I’d say we won close to 300 league titles and probably 150 to 175 sectional championships (both individual and team). On the state level, we’ve won 12 or 13.
“When kids succeed on such a high level, it’s incredibly gratifying to see the sheer joy on their faces. Then you see the parents and coaches, who’ve put so much into it. When you see it at that level, it’s truly meaningful.”