Paul James Q & A

Emily LaGrange, News Editor

Q: What’s your official job title?

A: Associate principal, activities director, and head football coach.


Q: Will you continue with this job in coming years?

A: I will definitely be done as associate principal and activities director.


Q: Why are you retiring from athletic director?

A: I’ve been at this school for 40 years. I came here when I was 22, and am walking out the door when I’m 62. My wife will be retiring at the end of March from Cedar Rapids Schools.


Q: When is your retirement effective?

A: I have resigned from both positions effective June 30, 2016.


Q: How long have you been teaching?

A: I was hired at Washington in August of 1976. I started as a math teacher and assistant football coach. I taught math for 22 years, Driver’s Ed for eight years, and have been associate principal and athletic director for 10 years.


Q: How long have you been coaching?

A: I was assistant varsity football coach 1976-1994, assistant men’s sophomore basketball coach 1977-1978, assistant women’s track coach 1977-1986. From 1979 to 2002 I was head women’s basketball coach, and I was head women’s track coach from 1987 to 1988. I was also dead football coach between 1995 and 2005, and again from 2013 to 2015.


Q: Do you know who the next Athletic Director will be?

A: Yeah, Mr. Johnson. Because we are both associate principals, we have different assignments, but our titles are the same. In terms of associate principal, DP just reassigned him from scheduling and discipline to being the Activities Director.


Q: What do you plan on doing in your retirement?

A: I hope to maybe coach some football. My wife and I will do a bit of traveling – we don’t have anything nailed down for sure, but we’re working on some things. [It’ll be nice] just being able to pick up and go and not having to be at school on the weekend for an activity; just be gone on the weekend and not having to worry about it… Getting up and riding a bike, and doing things like that, which you don’t have time to do in this job. … You never know, DP is trying to talk me into subbing some, but…I enjoy the classroom.”


Q: So then they will be hiring someone else for Mr. Johnson’s position?

A: Actually I think Dr. Nyberg is sliding into his position of scheduling, and so I think the position that they will be filling are Dr. Nyberg’s responsibilities, which are building and grounds, and campus, and various things like that – and, of course discipline. It was a chain reaction. With me stepping down, Mr. Johnson wanted to slide over to AD and approached DP and when that happened then Dr. Nyberg wanted to get involved in scheduling.


Q: So you have obviously enjoyed being the head coach for our football team?

A: Yeah, I did it 11 years and then I was defensive coordinator for 19. When the Assistant Principal position became open, the superintendent at the time told me I had to resign the football position. So, I did that and gave it up for seven years, and then a series of events led to the district asking me to come back to be the football coach three years ago.