CORNING - Corning will soon have a new face running its athletics programs.
Damian Saks, former Horseheads head football coach and current assistant principal at Elmira High School will take over April 22 after the C-PP School Board unanimously voted Wednesday to name him the new athletic director - taking over for Bill Pierce.
“It’s an honor, I’m pretty excited they decided to pick me,” said Saks. “It’s a great district, a great staff. Since we’ve been in contact, they’ve been nothing but nice to us - my wife and I - it’s been awesome.”
Saks was a teacher in the Horseheads district for 15 years while also coaching the varsity football team. Saks also recorded stints as head coach of J.V. girls lacrosse and varsity boys lacrosse. His past involvement in athletics along with being an assistant principal the past three years made for a natural fit.
“It was combining of sports and administration, work with some incredible sports teams, incredible staff and an incredible district,” said Saks. “It was a win-win for me.”
Saks takes over for Pierce, the first athletic director in Hawks history, who is ending a six-year run at the helm. Pierce will take over as the assistant superintendent for school operations.
“It was a position that I was very interested in when (Superintendent) Mike Ginalski approached me,” said Pierce. “It was almost like a natural transition. The director of athletics works so closely with the transportation department, public relations with building and grounds and field work. Those are areas we have to cross lanes multiple times. In that regard, I already had one foot in that world.”
In his new position, Pierce will still assist and be involved with athletics when needed.
“Damian will have a good idea on how he wants to navigate,” Pierce said. “But when I first took over there were those days where I wish somebody was here that I could rely on. I hope to be that type of mentor for him so when he needs a resource or he needs to see how things happened two years ago, I’m here for him, but this is going to be his show and he can do it his way.”
Saks will not hesitate to call on Pierce’s resume and expertise for reference in his new position as athletic director.
“You can’t think of a better scenario than having a guy that’s walked in your shoes that’s right there in the district to call when you have questions,” said Saks. “It’s a perfect scenario to have someone with Bill’s experience and expertise. He’s done a phenomenal job with Corning.
“He’s growing the program, he brought in unified sports and he’s done a lot with intramurals. To have him there as a resource is invaluable.”