Dan Feldhaus, the newly appointed athletic director at Dos Pueblos High School, says he recognizes the extraordinary legacy he is continuing within the school’s athletic department.
“I’m trying to create an environment where the coaches can really just make positive connections with the kids,” said Feldhaus, who brings 13 years of coaching and teaching experience to the position.
For 34 years, Dos Pueblos athletics operated under Scott “Coach O” O’Leary, who passed away in 2003. O’Leary was succeeded by Dan Choi, a close friend of Feldhaus who served as athletic director until July, when Feldhaus officially took over.
The three have a linked local history. Feldhaus graduated from Dos Pueblos in 1987, where he played baseball and football under the head coaching of O’Leary.
“(O’Leary) was what Dos Pueblos athletics are known for,” Feldhaus said. “He bled blue and gold, in a sense. He was a great role model for me growing up.”
After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in kinesiology, Feldhaus taught P.E. at La Cumbre Junior High School with Choi. When Choi accepted a position within the DPHS athletic department, Feldhaus joined him soon after.
“I essentially followed him in his footsteps,” Feldhaus said of Choi. “Dan did an awesome job as the athletic director for five years. He did things the right way.”
Feldhaus spent five years coaching lower-level football and teaching P.E. at Dos Pueblos, during which he worked closely with Choi, learning the ins and outs of the department.
Choi will continue at Dos Pueblos in a teaching capacity, and Feldhaus says he is certain the two will continue their close working relationship within the department.
Although he felt prepared when he took the position on July 1, Feldhaus faced a literal trial by fire his first week on the job, orchestrating student athletic programs during the Gap Fire.
“I got accepted on a Tuesday and I think the fire started that night,” he said. “The principal just called me and told me to start making arrangements because the campus wasn’t going to be available.”
While Dos Pueblos was being used as a fire department staging area, Feldhaus quickly found accommodations for programs such as the summer football camp and swim lessons at the school’s new Elings Aquatic Center.
Feldhaus says the aquatic center, which opened in 2007 and includes an Olympic-sized pool, is reflective of the way he plans to excel Dos Pueblos athletic facilities, including possible focus on the football and baseball fields.
Increased alumni participation also is in the near future, says Feldhaus, who hopes to include previous Chargers in the athletic department’s developments.
During his time as athletic director, Feldhaus will step back from his usual coaching routine. “I’m taking a break and just concentrating on supporting the coaches,” he said, adding, “but I’m sure I’ll get a little itchy on Friday nights.”
Noozhawk intern Mollie Helmuth can be reached at email@example.com.