Dick Johnson speaks about his resignation

“It’s been a rough week,” began Dick Johnson at the start of a news conference today. Johnson resigned just days ago as assistant superintendent and athletic director of the Fayetteville school district and many have been left to wonder what has happened since May when he decided not to resign from either position.

Although he refrained from citing any specific details, he was noticeably emotional especially when describing the hardships that his career has caused for his personal life over the years. “There have been times when I’ve felt like I belonged more to the school district than I did to my family,” he said after introducing his wife and daughter who were also in attendance. “While I’m healthy, I need to make that up to them,” he said between pauses.

But with such a sudden and surprising announcement, the feeling that there was more to the story was thick in the Adams Leadership Center this morning.

However, it immediately became clear that there was no simple answer to be given. Or if there was, it wasn’t going to come easy for the media. “For those of you looking for some quick sound bites so you can get out of here in a hurry, you can forget it,” said Johnson somewhat candidly.

During a recap of some of the major milestones the FHS athletic department has reached over the course of his tenure, Johnson stressed heavily the positive effect that updated school facilities can have on an entire community whether they be for athletics or academics. “You can’t separate them,” he said. “It all works together.”

“Right now today, we’re getting ready to try to do something that will impact this community for the next century,” said Johnson. He was, of course, referring to next month’s millage election that if passed, will create funding for a brand new Fayetteville High School. “Personally, I don’t think Fayetteville should take the backseat to anyone,” he said in reference to the school’s currently overcrowded facilities.

In an exclusive interview with the Northwest Arkansas Times yesterday, Johnson said he’d begun to feel somewhat inadequate recently with the upcoming election. “In some of the duties, I was out of my level,” he told the Times. Citing The Peter Principle which states that every employee eventually rises to a level of incompetence, Johnson reiterated yesterday’s comments today. “The truth is,” he said, “the desire to succeed and to learn more can’t make me the most qualified person to do this job for the school district.”

When asked about the void his resignation creates, Johnson was quick to point out his confidence in the current administration. “I challenge you to find a better coaching staff (than Fayetteville’s). We’ve got great people and they’re still here.” He added that there were a few individuals he had in mind that would all be excellent successors but wasn’t specific about the role he’ll play, if any, in the selection process.

As for his plans for the future, Johnson said that was still undetermined but he’d probably know by the end of the month. “I’ve got no regrets other than the hardships to my family,” said Johnson of his career in Fayetteville. “This place is a part of me. And I’m a part of it.”

For video clips from today’s news conference visit nwanews.com/dickjohnson