Madras AD posts resignation


Oster says he couldn't pass up chance to return to Washington

Some opportunities are just too good to let pass by. So with that in mind, Madras High athletic director Rory Oster has resigned from his position to take a similar one in Camas, Wash.

“It was just a big, professional opportunity,” Oster said. “I’ve had the opportunity to leave a few times and nothing quite felt right. This is the one; it felt like the right move.”

Rory OsterOster, who has led the White Buffalo athletic department the last six years, said he will stay on board as long as the district needs him to, at least during the next few weeks. He said everything needed for the fall sports season has been taken care of and he will help make the transition to the new AD as smooth as possible.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that I love it here,” Oster said. “I wasn’t looking to leave because I was unhappy or anything like that. This is a huge, professional opportunity for me and it’s the best thing for my family right now. And it feels right.”

Oster had been contacted by a few schools earlier this year and said that process led him to keep his eye open for the right situation is it came along. When the Camas job opened up, he knew he had to look into it.

While many may have been caught off guard by the news, Oster said he stayed in constant contact with Madras principal Sarah Braman-Smith, letting her know when and where he was interviewing.

“I have a great relationship with these people and I care about this school,” Oster said.

Oster grew up in Enumclaw, Wash., about two hours north of the Camas area, so moving back to his home state was always appealing. So were the size and the makeup of the school.

With an enrollment of just under 2,000, Camas is in the state’s largest classification (4A) and is a one high school district.

Both of those things were important to Oster.

“I knew that’s where I wanted to be; I wanted to be at a very large school,” Oster said. “It’s a one high school town and that was a really big selling point for me. It’s a small community, one high school much like Madras.”

At Camas, Oster will inherit a program that has a rich tradition and was named the Washington State Athletic Program of the year by the Tacoma News Tribune in 2013. The school has eight state titles to its credit in various sports and seven runner up finishes, including last year in football.

With an enrollment that is almost three times that of Madras, Camas has more sports to offer and also had a larger core of club sports that are part of the athletic department.

And with all of that comes expectations to keep the program moving forward.

“They are comfortable with me being their guy and they know I want to be there,” Oster said. “It feels like a really good situation.”

Oster said he feels good about the shape of Madras athletics and is proud of the accomplishments the Buffs have made during his six years.

“I think (the department) is going in the right direction,” Oster said. “We’ve had enormous support from the school district, the administration and the community. It’s been great and I feel like the track is set and the train has been pushed. And I hope that they get someone in here that can continue that.”

Topping that list would be getting the new football stadium and track built. Oster has also brought in a wave of new coaches that have gotten the Buffs headed in the right direction.

His last hires were football coach Sean Cease and girls basketball coach Zach Lillebo.

But he said there are a few regrets as well.

The biggest will be the fact he will not be on hand when the new stadium complex opens this later this summer.

“I had a large part in that, planning that and getting it through,” Oster said. “I would have loved to have been the athletic director when that opened. That was a big accomplishment by the community to get that thing going, so I wanted to be a part of that.”

One thing he did not get going that he wanted was the gutting and refurbishing of the school’s weight room and equipment.

“There’s never a perfect time to leave,” Oster said. “But you can’t pass up a great opportunity because who knows if one like it ever comes along again.

“I’ll always be a White Buffalo,” Oster said. “This place will always be in my heart and I’ll always be tracking it. It’s great to know that every time I see that logo I’ll know I had a part in it and I’ll always be a part of it.”