La PORTE — Athletics director, teacher, coach, bus driver.
Like many folks at Class A schools, Dave Amor has worn plenty of hats over his 17 years at LaCrosse, a testament to longevity at a time when people just don't stay in one place for long.
"I've always enjoyed Mayberry," Amor said of the town in The Andy Griffith Show. "There's less stress. I remember when Marty Freeman, the principal who hired me, was leaving for a bigger school. I could have, but I never did. It was always something to look at, but I enjoy the people at LaCrosse. Are there headaches? Sure, but I still enjoy it."
Evidently, since Amor was persuaded to come out of retirement by principal Brian McMahan to remain as A.D. at the Porter County Conference school of 120 students.
"Brian called and talked if there was any way I could come back as just A.D.," Amor said. "I enjoy the athletics part. I just don't want to teach anymore. It's part-time as far as I'm concerned, so I have some freedom to do things I want, and my wife (Alice) is comfortable with it. The girls are trying to talk me back into coaching softball. It's always nice (to be wanted), but I doubt it."
Technically, Amor returns the second week of August, making his retirement roughly two months long, but he's already working, doing things like ordering volleyballs. At 66, he's not quite ready to totally kick back and enjoy life without a schedule. That's not unlike his dad, who worked for Sears as a repairman into his early 80s.
"It's a second career for me," Amor said. "I was just waiting until (Alice and I) were both on Medicare. Now I'm at a time when I can draw as much money as I want."
A three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball) at La Porte, Amor played for some big-time coaches in Stan Klimczak, Skip Collins, Dick Deardurff and Ken Schreiber as a Slicer. He was an outfielder on LP's 1971 state championship team and Alice was a bat girl.
"My junior year, (Schreiber) told me you're never going to see the infield again. We need outfielders," Amor said.
Later, after Amor went into education, he student taught at La Porte and helped with JV baseball. The years in between are full of interesting stories that those who aren't close to Amor may well not know. He served in the Navy, doing a tour of duty in Viet Nam. He spent eight years as a deputy coroner. For 24 years, he worked as a funeral director, settling in Kouts, where he and Alice raised two children — Andrea, the executive secretary of the PCC, and Nick, a police lieutenant in Lafayette.
Amor spent six years as an assistant softball coach to George Davis at Kouts, four of those while Andrea was on the team. After her graduation, A,or decided to go in another direction professionally and began doing odd jobs while working toward a teaching license at Trinity Christian University.
"I just wanted to do something different," he said.
In January 2001, Amor was contacted by Dewey Township trustee Dick Bucher about an opening at LaCrosse following the departure of Bill Berger to Westville. He accepted the position and has called the little school near the intersection of US 421 and State Road 8 home since. Amor's shared his varied life experiences as a teacher in U.S. and World History, Government, Economics and Physical Education.
In his second year at LaCrosse, Amor became softball coach and then was hired as A.D. when Steve Leonard left for Lowell.
"(Freeman) told me, you've run a business, you know how to handle money, do you want to be the next A.D.?" Amor said.
Over time, he's made the technological transition from an era when forms and contracts were physically mailed — "and you'd pray they'd all come back" — to online systems where everything can be processed with just a few clicks.
"I'm still learning how to use Event Link," Amor said. "I remember when we had to pull up our side baskets by rope."
While LaCrosse has benefitted from the state's move to class sports, it's never been nor ever will be an athletics powerhouse. Given the school's enrollment and resources, it's a reality that Amor has come to accept.
"We made up T-shirts for our golf outing Saturday and I think we've had nine (sectional) titles for the whole time period," he said. "Three baseball, two volleyball, three basketball and one softball. I've had years where I had just nine girls (in softball), so there were no cuts. I had a girl once who said I'll just come out and sit with you on the bench. I wanted to play her one game and she said, 'No, I like the bench.'"
Amor has also served a voice for the small schools with the Indiana High School Athletic Association, sitting on both its Board of Directors and Executive Committee. This year, he'll be part of the review committee that makes determinations on transfer issues.
"We've got six or seven already and it's not even August," he said. "The class system's good. It gives more school a chance to win a state championship. Our biggest size disparity is actually in 4A. I enjoy it. I fight for the little things. You just don't see a lot of changes."
The A.D. responsibilities include scheduling and hiring for Wanatah Middle School, though staff there will handle supervision. He will do the majority of the supervision at LaCrosse, where McMahan and superintendent Kelly Shepherd help out.
Also in the process of moving back to La Porte, Amor is keeping his calendar open-ended on how long his tenure will be.
"We'll see," he said. "I may stick around for a while."