By ANDY WOLF
The Review Times
NEW RIEGEL — Steve Bouillon has spent 57 of his 62 years in a school.
He has spent the past 30 of those years as the athletic director at New Riegel High School.
Bouillon will serve until the end of May before beginning his retirement in June.
“I never really thought about it and just kept going …” Bouillon said of his longevity. “You just keep doing it out of habit, but at this age it’s a logical spot.”
But Bouillon isn’t stepping away cold turkey.
In the fall he will start as New Riegel’s junior high athletic director and will also look to help out as a substitute teacher.
“I love the teaching part, the kids in the classroom,” Bouillon, who also teaches social studies at New Riegel, said. “Though, spending Sunday making lesson plans, it will be nice not to do that any more.”
With the extra free time, Bouillon plans to visit his daughters, one living in Cleveland and another who works for the Detroit Tigers. As a lifelong Tigers fan, he plans to regularly attend games at Comerica Park.
“I can only watch so many Andy Griffith reruns,” Bouillon said with a laugh. “I don’t want to get caught up watching those all afternoon.”
Bouillon will still regularly attend sporting events at New Riegel but without them being part of 70-hour work weeks.
“The difference is I can leave when the buzzer goes off and not an hour and a half later,” Bouillon said.
If New Riegel’s spring teams stretch their postseason play into June — the softball team happens to be ranked third in the state in Division IV — Bouillon said he would probably sit in the back row as a fan at that point.
New Riegel has seen its softball team make state semifinal appearances in 1991, 1996 and 2010.
Bouillon, a 1970 graduate, was a junior on the 1969 Blue Jackets baseball team that captured the school’s only state title.
After graduating from Eastern Michigan, he served as baseball coach at St. Wendelin from 1975 to 1979.
He moved to New Riegel to fill a social studies teaching position before beginning as athletic director.
One year later, Bouillon saw the beginning of New Riegel’s competition in the Midland Athletic League.
Since then, Bouillon has worked with more than 70 ADs within the MAL and hundreds more from around the area.
“League meetings have been a picture of cooperation,” Bouillon said. “That’s a really good memory. I can’t say a bad word about any of them.”
MAL will dissolve after this season, and New Riegel will become part of the Sandusky River League.
Donene Smith retired last year as athletic director at St. Wendelin, a position she held since 1996.
“Steve is very humble, very unbiased and always has a positive attitude,” said Smith, who has known Bouillon for 30 years. “He was one of my first mentors and will be a hard one to replace.”
Gary Geller has been athletic director at Fremont St. Joseph since 1997. He was the girls basketball coach from 1982 through 2013.
Geller cited Bouillon as a key influence within the MAL.
“From a professional standpoint, he’s top notch and always organized,” Geller said.
“He’s able to adjust on the fly and is just a pleasure to work with.”
In addition of working with multiple ADs, Bouillon has seen generations of students come and go.
“There’s an expectation of the kids here to do well,” Bouillon said. “It comes from the parents before them.”
While the social interaction has been a huge highlight, he also earned some individual recognition, including induction into the Ohio Interscholastic Administrators Hall of Fame in 2009.
Bouillon has also coached different sports at New Riegel. Seven years ago, as an assistant baseball coach, he was struck in the right eye by a line drive while pitching batting practice.
The impact broke several bones in his face and caused loss of vision in the eye.
“That was a crazy thing. With an inch either way, maybe I’d be dead,” Bouillon said. “But I adapted and I don’t really think about it much anymore.”
As that memory has passed, more memories are starting to surfaces as the end of May approaches.
“I’m not really counting down my days too much,” Bouillon said. “I haven’t all year until last couple of weeks. Right now, I’m hoping I can get everything done with final grades and my stuff moved out by May.”
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