An athletic director is the head and supervisor of coaches and trainers at higher educational facility like a college. His/her job is to observe the operation of all of the coaches under their command, and correct improper behavior when necessary. An athletic director serves an administrative function rather than an academic one, and is thus usually lesser-recognized than coaches themselves, as well as professors from the same college. As an athletic director, one needs to be careful and observant for signs of problems not only in coaches themselves, but also the students under their training.
Athletic directors don’t necessarily have to come from a sports background – since they don’t engage in sports directly in any way and their function is management-oriented, there’s no such requirement for becoming an athletic director. As an athletic director, one must possess very strong persuasion skills and the ability to gain the trust of both their superiors and subordinates – a common problem in the job of an athletic director is having to sanction a coach who’s popular among their students and colleagues, usually leading to the athletic director’s advise being ignored if it doesn’t come out as strong enough.
Athletic directors are usually well-compensated, with salaries ranging broadly from $74,000 to $127,000 annually. The median lies around $96,000, and that’s in correlation with what most athletic directors in popular colleges earn. An athletic director’s salary is usually lower than those of his/her subordinate coaches, on the other hand.