The new athletics director, Zach Rigney, was previously the athletics director at Atlantic High School in Port Orange.
Zach Rigney still remembers the first Matanzas High School football game he ever went to.
In 2015, Rigney, then the athletics director at Atlantic High School, made the trip up from Port Orange to see his team take on the Pirates.
The experience left a lasting impression.
“The fans were just going crazy,” he said. “The number of fans really blew me away, and the passion was amazing. As an athletics director, you want to be able to work with people who are passionate about athletics.”
On Aug. 4, the 29-year-old Rigney was hired as Matanzas’ new athletics director, replacing former athletics director Rich Weber, who left the position to take a job in the private sector. Weber will remain as the Pirates’ boy’s soccer coach, according to Principal Jeff Reaves
The school received 58 applications and interviewed 12 candidates before making the decision to hire Rigney, Reaves said.
“He’s got a lot of energy,” he said. “He’s got a great record from his time at Atlantic High School as far as moving the program forward. Coach Weber did a great job of moving our program forward, and Zach is picking up where he left off to keep things moving.”
In his first week, Rigney said he challenged all of the students to participate in a sport.
“When you’re an athletics director, you want every kid to have the opportunity to play a sport,” he said. “You’d like to see every kid participate. You’d like to see every kid compete.”
Rigney, who arrived at Atlantic in 2013, first served as the school’s baseball coach for two years before he was promoted to athletics director. In that position, he took part in numerous projects, including installing a 500-seat bleacher at the football field, resurfacing the gym’s floor, rebuilding the weight room and re-doing the baseball field. Rigney said he has similar plans for Matanzas.
“We’re going to take it to the next level,” he said. “We’re going to make our facilities even better than they already are. We’re going to raise a lot of money. We’re going to be out in the community with our athletes. We want people when they think of Matanzas to think of elite, and this school definitely has the potential to be that.”