Palo Alto High to get a new athletic director in the fall

Just as Thursday's lunch hour ended at Palo Alto High, there was a notable shift in the school's athletic department.

Palo Alto principal Kim Diorio announced, in a letter to the school staff, that the "assistant" part of Therren Wilburn's job title was going to be erased and the San Jose State grad would become Paly's full-time athletic director beginning with next year's school year.

The position change was fully endorsed by current Athletic Director Kathi Bowers, who will return to the classroom next year while still keeping her hand in athletics as an adviser to the completion and formal opening of the Peery Center.

"I found that I really missed the classroom and teaching math," Bowers wrote in an e-mail. "Therren is very excited for the job."

How excited?

"This position is a dream come true! Definitely the most exciting day of my life," Wilburn wrote.

Wilburn, who has a Master's degree in Sports Management from San Jose State, has been preparing a long time to accept a leadership position in sports. In 2012, for example, he contacted 84 athletic directors around the state of California seeking advice.

"The answers I got ensured me that I wanted to pursue the career," Wilburn wrote. "At Paly I definitely want to continue the tradition of being competitive on the playing fields and excelling in the classroom. I'd also like to make sure that the playing experience at Paly equips our student-athletes with tools that are transferable to life after high school, and they can think back to experiences while competing that helped them become a contributor to society."

Bowers already had a great relationship with Wilburn. The transition will likely be as smooth as possible.

"Therren's experience as our Assistant Athletic Director and his educational training made him a terrific candidate for this dynamic role," Diorio wrote.

Dioro later told Vikings Magazine that she is "confident our athletics program is in great hands."

A native of San Diego, Wilburn came under the influence of Jason Van, a running back at San Diego State between 2000-03, and who later coached Wilburn at Helix High.

"He would consistently push me past my potential in all areas," Wilburn said. "My biggest inspiration is definitely my mother. From a young age she instilled hard work and commitment in me, which has helped me get to this point."

Wilburn taught a beginning basketball class at San Jose State for the department of Kinesiology, interned at the Central Coast Section office, where he was responsible, in part, for social media, website maintenance and directing playoff games among other duties.

He's volunteered in the Menlo Park City School District, at Second Harvest Food Bank and the YMCA of Silicon Valley.


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