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By Peter W. Zubaty
Landmark News Service
Marion County native and former Lady Knight basketball star Sara Higdon Thurmond has been tabbed as interim co-athletic director for the new Thomas Nelson High School in Nelson County. She will be sharing the position with Harold "Junior" Dugan.
"I am thrilled to get two people as thoughtful and dedicated as Sara and Harold," principal Wes Bradley said. "Together, they make a dynamic duo."
Bradley said a permanent hire for athletic director at the new school cannot be made until Feb. 1. In the meantime, Thurmond and Dugan - who are former coaches and current teachers in the Nelson County School system - as well as any others who are interested in the position can apply for the job.
For now, responsibilities for the pair entail scheduling games and data collection for the start-up athletic program at Thomas Nelson, which is set to open for the 2012-13 school year. One of their chief duties will be sending out athletic participation survey forms to all students attending the new school to get a feel for what sports will be offered and whether some of those sports will debut on a limited basis, such as a junior varsity-only level.
"We're looking at our numbers and communicating with students and parents about our different offerings," Bradley said.
In addition, he has been in contact with officials at schools that have faced similar situations in recent years, such as Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelbyville and South Warren High School in Bowling Green, both of which debuted in 2010-11, to explore how they handled their respective splits.
Bradley said the sports picture at Thomas Nelson is "evolving by the week."
Coaching positions for Thomas Nelson will be posted the first week of January.
"We hope to have them all filled by late February or early March," Bradley said, noting that Dugan and Thurman will be undertaking the "challenging and unique circumstances of building the program from the ground up."