Monaco takes lead as Pima’s athletic director

Jim Monaco is the new Athletic Director for Pima Community College and spoke to the Press about his duties and his transition from football coach to the Athletic Director. He gave us insight on what it is that an Athletic Director does and how he will be performing these new tasks.

Q: What was the first thing you did as Athletic Director?

A: I took a look at this year’s budget and try to get costs like Kino (Sports Complex), under control and try to get (sports) things back here on West Campus. That was the first thing we actually sat down and did with Ray as a part of our staff, we kind of sat down and said, this is important and it saves the school money right away and let’s get started doing that.   

Q: What has been the toughest thing you have had to deal with thus far?

A: I think the toughest thing is trying to control the budget for the next three years. I think that is the biggest concern throughout the college, is what is going to take place and it is tough because you don’t really know. So trying to make sure that we rain in as much on the outer expenses as we can because it affects coaches kids, staff, and really everybody. So that’s the toughest thing, it’s where we have put in the most work to be honest, it’s trying to contain everything to do what is best for the college.

Q: What has been your favorite part about the transition from being Head football coach to the athletic director so far?

A: You get to kind of coach a whole bunch of kids. It’s tough but, I went to a lot of basketball this year, matter of fact I have been to a lot of sports period and it’s kind of neat. Once you get out from behind that football desk, you know all the kids are yours, basically. You try and protect them and do the best you can. It’s been really great getting to know the kids from the other teams. Getting a chance to sit and you know you can never make a bad call from the stands. I have really enjoyed getting out and watching the other games.  

Q: What if anything do you miss about coaching football?

A: I miss coaching. I will tell you something you can always make your decisions, whether we had football or not I said it was my last year and I would have stuck by that, but you never take into full effect until you sit back and now I’m in it. Is it hard? Yeah. it’s hard. I was asked last week on a radio show “what do you do now? Wouldn’t you be out recruiting?” To me recruiting is a blast because you are competing against every school in the country to get these athletes it’s like games, and I miss that aspect; but on the other hand God put me where I am supposed to be now and hopefully I can just build on what edgar did already and continue to move us forward and make us solid and viable.

Q: How do you have to handle things now differently compared to when your were coaching?

A: I can’t cuss at people as much, It was easier when I was on the field. You have to handle things a little differently,you have to be able to look past your initial gut reaction is and take a step back, you know on a football field it is something is going wrong and fix it right this second, and with this job something is going wrong and it isn’t fixable right this second you have to do a little more homework. So, having to take a step back and it’s been good for me because I am learning to take a step back and you have to look at the bigger picture. When you make a decision it not only affects the head coach or other coaches but all those kids and the whole team. So for me it was easy it was football I handled it but now it’s somebody else’s sport and livelihood. You have to take a look at policy rather then Billy got hurt and now we need to replace a left tackle, it is more if there is a violation or an over expenditure and I hope I am getting it or I won’t be here too much longer hahaha.

Q: What are some things you are looking forward to as athletic director?

A: Getting all of the sports back on West Campus, developing that relationship with our entire student body to get them excited to come out to the games and supporting their fellow students. I am going to try and bring some national tournaments to Pima. We have amazing weather, great hotel rooms, we have a great facility, and if we needed to get expanding facilities we have Kino and all these areas. Basketball I am going to try and get the women’s tournament here at Pima because I think it would be amazing to get Pima out there it’s tv time computer time people will see our campus our college our gym. It’s a lot to see it’s a great place, also when you walk outside and it 75 degrees and not 5 that also attracts a bunch of people. So those are the things I am looking forward to just developing a relationship with the student body here on west campus and all the campuses.

Q: Will there be any other sports cut by the school in the future?

We are trying to do whatever we can but we have this year’s budget and we appear to be okay but in the next few years things may go down we haven’t got that budget yet so it’s tough to project, my goal is to never lose a sport, but depending on what happens with enrollment and funding, and you can only do with what you have so I will wait for that to come down but hopefully it doesn’t but if it does we will have to make decisions as a college and do what is best for our student-athletes and try to do whatever we can to maintain whatever we can.