Josh Mathews is the Athletic Director at Pope High School. He has been in teaching for 19 years and has been the AD at Pope for the last 8 years. Josh is a servant-leader who has won multiple state championships as both a coach and as an AD. We asked him a few questions recently and this is what he had to say.
“Sports can teach so many lessons,” he said. “Working through adversity, unselfishness, teamwork, integrity, and grit are a few of the common answers. Life is not about us, no matter what we are doing. Life is lived at its fullest when we are serving others. And this is what sports teaches us: to think about helping others.”
“I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior at a young age, and this has shaped my life’s trajectory,” he said. “I believe with all of my heart that the Lord has given me talents, opportunities, and the ability to teach, coach, and serve high school-aged student-athletes and the men, women, and their families who serve as coaches at Pope.”
Josh lists a famous inspirational quote from legendary coach Lou Holtz as one of his favorites. “Coach Holtz, along with my former principal, Dr. Bob Downs, were known for saying ‘There is never a wrong time to do the right thing.’ I love thinking of that quote and applying it to how athletes and coaches must make a choice to do the right thing on so many occasions,” he said. “You must do things the right way at the right time to achieve the right outcome to be the right person. And it applies to every life situation and decision.”
Being in the role of Athletic Director at Pope, Josh counts helping others as one of the best parts of his job. “Helping coaches accomplish their goals and helping young men and women achieve success is when my heart is full,” he said. “While it is easy to talk about being a servant leader, it is not easy by nature. But when the opportunity turns to fruition, that brings the greatest value for me in being an athletic director.”
Heading into his ninth year as AD at Pope, Josh has much to be proud of at his school, where he also serves as Assistant Principal. “The family culture we have among our coaches at Pope is so important,” he said. “It was here before we arrived in 2012, and I believe it has only strengthened over the years, not by anything we have done, but because our coaches truly love and care for one another.
“We have had success in a lot of sports, and it is completely due to the high caliber and character men and women we have coaching a group of motivated young men and women,” he continued. “I am truly proud of every player and coach in our program for the effort they give to training, practicing, studying, and performing, both in the classroom and on the fields or courts.”
While it is true that Pope has had much success over the years, Josh remains grounded and focused on what really matters most to him: his family. “Above all the excitement,” he said, “the thing I remember most about each and every year, no matter where or when it ends, is the hug I get from my wife at its conclusion. She is the exclamation point on any memory I have as a coach or AD!”
Favorite food? Country Fried Steak & Potatoes
Favorite vacation or travel spot? Beach or Washington D.C.
Hidden talent? I like to cook my grandmother’s recipes: biscuits, chocolate cake, orange slice cake (only at Christmas), and I am decent at it.
Morning person or night owl? Morning person!
First job? Worked for the local little league baseball league keeping score and announcing the nightly games when I was about 12-13 years old.
What other profession would you like to attempt? Director of Operations for a college baseball team or something in a college athletics office.