BULLHEAD CITY — Amanda Amann’s foremost motivation is as noble as it is simple.
“This is my family, my school, and my community,” said the Mohave High School athletics director, who inhabited the role a year ago.
Amann then described her labor of love more specifically: “It has always been my dream to be the AD.”
Those seeds were sown early in Amann’s life; while growing up, she and her brother, Christopher, often attended MHS sporting events. As an Indiana transplant whose family relocated to Bullhead City circa 1981, she attended MHS while playing volleyball, basketball and softball until graduating in 1999.
Amann’s family members are Thunderbirds at heart: Casey, her husband since 2002, graduated Mohave High in 1996 and is a teacher, coach and theater director at the school; their son, Espn, is an MHS freshman. Shea, their daughter, is a student at Fox Creek Junior High.
These days, most stories aren’t complete without referencing the godforsaken coronavirus, from which Amann hasn’t been immune from a parenting standpoint.
“My kids are not particularly the best online learners and needed reminders to get their work done,” she explained. As for Shea’s instructors, “Kathleen Watson went above and beyond.”
The same could be said of Amann, to hear MHS teacher and varsity softball coach Shannon Patterson describe her value.
“Amanda is very committed and diligent in life and with work. She is also a very caring and compassionate person,” said Patterson. “She is a fierce supporter and advocate of family, students, staff, and her community. I am happy to know her and proud of all she has accomplished over the years.
“She is a great leader through her actions and example, not simply a boss with a title and fancy words!”
Although Amann enjoys spending quality time with loved ones at home, doing so simultaneously compounds the stress of working there instead of with colleagues at the office.
To that end, the T-birds AD has found it challenging to prepare next year’s schedule that may call for restrictions attributed to COVID-19. Routine tasks that heretofore were taken for granted now present unexpected obstacles, but coaches and activity sponsors “have continued to do everything,” according to Amann.
An unexpected upside: Amann hasn’t needed to travel for monthly meetings in Flagstaff and Phoenix. Previous face-to-face gatherings have given way to Zoom and other time-saving online platforms.
While Amann said she wishes that her department’s budget was $1 million, to render fundraisers moot, “We are fortunate to live in such a giving community,” she said.
What exactly qualifies Amann to serve as an athletics director? It could be argued there aren’t many individuals more qualified.
For starters, she played softball at Fordham University in New York as Mohave High’s first female Division I student to have earned an athletic scholarship. After transferring to UNLV, where she played for a season, she completed her bachelor’s degree in physical education with — oh, by the way — a minor in athletic coaching.
That’s when a return to Arizona was in order.
“After graduating in 2004 from UNLV, Casey and I began building a house in Queen Creek,” said Amann, who proceeded to teach in Phoenix and Florence.
It wasn’t long until Mohave Valley — specifically River Valley High — came calling. That was in 2007, when she not only became a physical education mentor but also the Lady Dust Devils soccer coach.
Those responsibilities weren’t enough for the unflagging Amann, who found time to earn a master’s degree from University of Central Missouri prior to becoming the Dust Devils’ assistant principal in 2014, when she was “extremely fortunate” to work with Principal Dorn Wilcox.
Now the River Valley High athletics director as well as principal, Wilcox said he and Amann continue to cooperate.
“We still work together when it comes to athletics. She works hard for all the students, both academically and for sports. I often ask her for help,” said Wilcox.
By 2017, Amann had more degrees than a thermometer — the latest master’s coming from Grand Canyon University, while she worked
double-duty as athletics director and assistant principal.
When the calendar turned to 2019, she couldn’t resist returning to Mohave High.
Joining forces with
student-athletes, coaches and sponsors “who go above and beyond on a daily basis” is a beautiful thing, according to Amann, who credited sturdy support from Principal Steve Lawrence, assistant principals James Armijo and Duane Scofield, along with administrative assistant Deanna Acosta.
Ultimately for Amann, the House of Thunder feels like home.
“I am able to eat lunch with my husband and son,” she said, “and my daughter is excited to join us in another year.”