Perkins High School Girls Track and Field Coach Amy Didion is calling it quits after nine seasons. The time is right, she says.
Coach Didion officially announced her decision in July, just weeks after her 4x100 relay squad was runner-up at the Ohio High School girls state track and field state championship. The state result was the best of her coaching career.
“That was just a magical moment,” Coach Didion says.
She had been contemplating her retirement as a coach at the end of the 2020 track and field season – a season that never happened because it was canceled due to the pandemic.
“I just couldn’t end that way,” Coach Didion says. So she stayed on and not only saw her girls do well at state, she also bagged her first team SBC Championship as a coach in 2021.
“This group of girls was so much fun,” Coach Didion says.
Track and field has always been a big part of her life, and her list of accomplishments is long. She was inspired as a kid by her father, Rod Litz, who had been the Sandusky City Schools’ track coach.
“As kids, my sister and I would go to practice, and we got to hang out with the athletes,” Mrs. Didion says.
As a Perkins track athlete herself, she placed in relays and the long jump in 1986 and 1987. After competing in high school and college, “it just seemed natural to coach.”
Her Perkins High School track coaching accomplishments also include a district championship in 2016 and district runner-up in 2021, and a list of state placers in both indoor and outdoor track championships.
She tracked the development of all her athletes across the 17 track and field events. When an athlete set a new Personal Record, she not only knew it, Coach Didion also made sure the athlete and her teammates knew it.
“I love being a part of these athletes’ journeys as they grow and improve,” Mrs. Didion says. “It never gets old seeing an athlete reach a goal or make our Top 10 lists.”
Perkins Athletic Director Ted Sturzinger praised Coach Didion’s dedication to the team and her work ethic as a coach.
“She has a kids-first mentality and strives to be the best in all areas of coaching and teaching,” Mr. Sturzinger said. “She will definitely be missed, but I can't thank her enough for her time and commitment as the Head Girls Track coach at Perkins High School.”
Mrs. Didion, meanwhile, will continue teaching science at Briar Middle School, where she has earned high regard among her colleagues and students. Briar Principal Jeff Thom noted that Mrs. Didion has had an extremely positive impact on students and the culture at Perkins Schools.
“Amy is a phenomenal teacher and great coach, and her leadership style in the classroom always went hand-in-hand with her beliefs and actions out on the track,” Mr. Thom said. “Building trusting relationships and a winning culture is what made Mrs. Didion such a great coach. We are extremely lucky to have her as a teacher at Briar, she is such an impactful person for our staff and students.”
The Perkins Schools Board of Education on Wednesday approved hiring Shane Burrows as the new Girls Track Head Coach. Mr. Burrows also is the Boys Track Head Coach.
“It’s been easy to work with Coach Didion, who has been a part of the program for so long,” Coach Burrows said. “She’s just unbelievably organized. She’s going to be missed.”
And fear not, Pirates: Mrs. Didion may be retiring as a Girls Track Coach, but student athletes and Perkins Athletics fans can expect to see her back on the track. She has pledged to continue helping out at track meets and other Perkins athletic events.
She’s also a familiar face at Perkins Athletics Booster Club events and active in the community.
Thank you, Coach Didion.