Greg Magni stepped down as leader of Central Valley High School's varsity baseball program to become the Hawks' new athletic in 2013-14.
"I envisioned being a coach at CV for a long time," Magni said. "Things changed. It was a risk to take the chance. It paid off."
Magni has been chosen as one of the winners of the Norm MacKenzie "Rookie" Athletic Director of the Year Award.
"I'm not sure who nominated me," said Greg, who represented the Sac-Joaquin Section while being recognized by the California State Athletic Directors Association on April 25 in Reno. "I got a letter from the section office a couple weeks ago. I was very excited to hear the news."
Central Valley's volleyball and girls tennis teams made history this school year by qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time.
Central Valley's boys soccer squad secured its eighth consecutive postseason berth.
Central Valley's wrestling program compiled a perfect 6-0 record during the WAC dual-meet season and advanced to the Division-IV Team Duals for the second year in a row.
Central Valley's football, boys basketball and boys tennis teams all participated in the playoffs for the first time during the 2013-14 school year.
"It's nice to get recognized for the hard work you put in," Magni said. "But that's not the reason I do it. I get to be around kids and sports. It's definitely enjoyable. Sports are an outlet for all types of kids."
Magni started working at Central Valley in 2005-06.
He was an English teacher and baseball coach for eight years.
Along with being the school's athletic director, Magni teaches two periods of P.E. as well.
The Hawks' varsity baseball program enjoyed a breakthrough year under Magni's guidance in 2013.
Central Valley qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the first time, posted a 19-9 overall record and finished third in the Western Athletic Conference standings.
The Hawks fell one win shy of advancing to the playoffs in 2012.
Magni was an assistant coach on Tim Williams' staff from 2002-05 at Ceres High.
He was a substitute teacher in the district for three years.
He taught full-time at Ceres High for one year.
"I started as a pitching coach," Magni said. "I also coached three years of lower-level girls basketball under Shawna Nunes."
Magni praised Nunes, former Ceres High athletic director Phil de la Porte, and Central Valley's Amy Peterman (principal) and Michelle Parrish (former AD).
Nunes was a 2014 Norm MacKenzie Rookie Athletic Director of the Year Award recipient.
Magni replaced Parrish, who remained at the school as learning director.
"They helped me get to where I'm at," Magni said. "I want to thank her (Peterman) for believing in me. She's an amazing leader and she has made Central Valley a wonderful place to work.
Magni and his wife Elaine have three children, Will (7), Giuliana (5) and Sofia (3).
"The patience and support from her (Elaine) has been tremendous," Greg said. "I've been very fortunate."
Magni was recognized at the 47th Annual CSADA Conference last month. Family, friends and co-workers were in attendance. "I enjoy what I do," Magni said. "I come to work excited every day."