From subbing to coaching: The rise of Meade athletic director Kevin Rutledge

Fort Meade — On the first floor of Meade High School tucked away in the corner you will find athletic director Kevin Rutledge at his desk surrounded by accolades, jerseys, equipment and — most importantly — his big board that has the entire athletic year planned out. Rutledge will soon be embarking into his fourth year as Meade’s athletic director, a position he took just before the start of the 2014-2015 school year.

Hailing from upstate New York, Rutledge attended Towson University, where he earned his degree in physical education and played on the lacrosse team for four years.

After graduating in the fall of 2007, he was a long-term substitute teacher in Harford County (MD) for various schools for the rest of the school year. Rutledge then returned back to his home state for a year where he was a JV lacrosse coach and a substitute teacher before he returned back to Maryland looking for somewhere to plant his feet.

After another year of long-term subbing in 2008, Rutledge was able to land a job at Northeast High School in Pasadena, Maryland, where he was the associate athletic director working directly with athletic director Ken Miller.

Rutledge, who was as an assistant coach for the lacrosse and basketball teams, saw how much time was put into each practice along with preparing for a game.

“When you become a coach you really see how much time goes into coaching,” Rutledge said. “As a player, you show up to practice, you do your two hours and you go home. As a coach you may spend up to two hours prepping for a single practice. Even though it’s a part time job it’s a full time responsibility.”

After five years at Northeast, Rutledge got the position he had grown to love while being under Miller and embarked on a new journey as Meade’s new athletic director.

Before applying for the job, however,  he made sure to get the blessing of his wife.

“She understands that athletics has been my life’s work and she’s very supportive, but it can be difficult,” he said. “I do my best so that she understands my schedule so that she can plan some things around — and I make sure I don’t have to stay until 10 o’clock at night.”

Rutledge is also very thankful that Miller has been able to provide him with the right skill set so he can succeed on his own.

“The way [Miller] ran the program, I really appreciated what he did and how he [did it],” Rutledge said. “I ended up really enjoying the behind the scenes things of it.”

In Rutledge’s very first year as Meade’s athletic director he was a part of history. Meade’s boys basketball team won the 4A state championship giving Meade its first basketball state championship in school history. During that time Rutledge was able to gain some good experience about what goes into those big-time events.

“The state does a great job of running those events especially when dealing with the University of Maryland,” he said. “I think they did a great job staying flexible.”

One thing Rutledge is aware of his how much time he puts into his job. However, he doesn’t mind that because he loves what he does.

“I am spending 70 hours a week here so I miss a lot of things with my family and friends,” Rutledge said. “I don’t get too much down time until the summer comes which is basically July for me and then in August we start right back up.”

He is able to get some help in his day to day work with the help of a student intern who works directly with him for two out of the four periods during a school day. This year’s intern was soccer player Sam Solomon.

“There’s a lot of different things that a lot my coaches do that you can’t put into an exact job description and that’s where Sam falls in,” Rutledge said. “I could show up today and have my to-do list that I like to sit down and get accomplished but all of sudden I get called by 10 different people and am getting pulled in different directions. If you’re going to do jobs right there’s a lot of tedious tasks that need to be done and having a student aid is integral to getting a lot of those things done.”

Meade athletic director Kevin Rutledge talks with his student aide Sam Solomon about what his tasks will be for the upcoming week.

During his time at Northeast, Rutledge was a part of major renovations to all of the athletic facilities at the school. Currently, Rutledge is using the knowledge from that renovation and applying it to the current renovation happening at Meade.

When Rutledge first got the job at Meade he had noticed that Meade’s facilities were not up to par with the rest of the county. Meade was also the last school to still be using porta pots instead of having an indoor bathroom facility. Rutledge wanted to make the renovations a seamless change to the Meade program.

“My first four to five months all I did was research what has happened, why have things not happened and I have done my best to make sure I didn’t make the same mistakes,” he said. “We’re fortunate enough to have a county government that is extremely supportive and that has helped us every step of the way to push through the funding that we need for this project.”

The plans for Meade’s $1.6 million renovation include the building of a concession stand, bathroom and ticket booth as well as a new set of bleachers. Rutledge said the bleachers will seat 3,000 people and be the largest single-set of bleachers in the county.

“When people see [the bleachers] they’re going to be blown away,” Rutledge said. “It’s going to be something that I think the school deserved a long time ago, but I am happy to finally bring it to [the staff and students].”

Rutledge’s goals for the Meade facilities will not stop after just one renovation.

“My plan for this whole facility is [to have] lights on all of our fields, get scoreboards on our baseball and softball fields and preferably outdoor field houses for our athletes when they need to be outside.”

For someone who came out of college not knowing what he would end up doing, Rutledge is truly grateful for how everything worked out.

“I don’t think I really would change anything in terms of what’s gone so far in my career; I learned something at every different level.”

About Reese Levin 34 Articles
Reese Levin is a senior at Meade High School. He has always had a passion for sports ever since he was little. In college, he wants to major in Sports Journalism. His ultimate goal is to be a correspondent on an investigative sports show or become a SportsCenter Anchor. Contact info: rplevin99@gmail.com

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