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Poindexter set to retire from Central

Retiring Central Davidson athletic director Gene Poindexter stands in the dugout at the baseball field Friday morning. (Photo by Donnie Roberts/The Dispatch)

On the softball field, Gene Poindexter was the face of Central Davidson for many years.

Those outside the Central community may not realize how much of an impact he had on every sport at the school.

After 30 years in education, the final stretch of which was spent as Central’s athletic director, Poindexter is retiring at the end of the school year. Poindexter graduated from East Davidson in 1979, and from Appalachian State four years later. He never really considered a career other than education. “From the time I was in middle school or high school, I felt like this was what I wanted to do,” he said. “My dad wanted me to go and make some money, but this is where my heart was.”

He started teaching and coaching at West Montgomery, then left after one year for Denton High School. “After three years there, Burt Wagner at Central Davidson called me and offered me a job,” he explained. “That’s when I landed at Central, in the fall of ‘87.”

Poindexter was a student at East when Wagner was on staff there, establishing a relationship that would eventually change Poindexter’s life. “The folks I was working with were great people, and I felt like after a few years this was where I needed to be,” he said. “I’ve just enjoyed all the people I’ve worked with and worked for.

“The one thing about Central, every principal that I’ve worked for at Central was that we had sort of a family atmosphere. It’s been like that every since I’ve been there. From David Ward, Mike Lawson, Kevin Firquin, Emily Lipe, Tabitha (Broadway) and Burt, we’ve just had a great group of people to work with.”

That spilled over on to the softball field, where Poindexter turned the Spartans into one of the premiere softball programs in the state. Central won three straight championships under him. He said he never considered leaving Central once he settled in, and the community’s support of the school’s students and athletics played a big part in that.

Stepping away from softball to focus entirely on his duties as athletic director was a decision made out of necessity. The rigors of the A.D. job were too large to allow him to stay on and coach softball, but walking away from coaching came with a price. “I knew I was gonna miss the relationship with the kids,” he said. “Going to practice every day and the process of getting better.

“You find out one day their boyfriend broke up with them, or they made an ‘A’ on a test they had been studying for. Maybe their grandma or grandpa had been sick, or their mom or dad lost their job. That’s the kind of things I’m gonna miss.”

While Poindexter didn’t share any immediate plans he had at the moment, he said he doesn’t believe he’ll just fall into a Lazy-Boy the day he packs up his office. “I’ve got a lot of things around the house I want to get straightened out,” Poindexter said. “I’m probably gonna do something in a couple months, but basically I’m just gonna take care of some loose ends at the house.

“I don’t have anything lined up, but that’s when I’m gonna start looking. I’ve got to do something; I can’t sit around the house all the time and do nothing.”

It’s that type of work ethic that made him so successful at Central. Poindexter made it a point to hire good coaches, and he maintained a close working relationship with all of them. Success, as far as wins and losses, were important to him, but he also placed a high value on hiring people with good character. “As an A.D., you’ve got to have a bunch of good people helping you to be successful,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the people I worked with. Me and Jay (Lineberry) came there 26 years ago together, almost the same day. So I’ll miss Jay, and Kevin (Hudson), Brian (Hege) and all the coaches that I’ve worked with for so long. Greg (Peters); that’s what I’m gonna miss most of all.

“I’m not gonna miss the 15-16 hour days, but I’m gonna miss the people I work with more than anything.”

Jason Queen can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 220 or