Mike Tracey is one of those people you can always count on.
When United Township needed someone to step in on an interim basis as the athletic director during the 2018-19 school year, he was right there in a pinch.
When Alleman AD Joe Conklin announced he was going to take a position at the University of Iowa, I jokingly texted Tracey that evening and told him he is back on the job.
At the time, Tracey didn't know anything about Conklin's new job ... or at least he pretended to not know very well ... but I knew in my heart he was the right man for the job.
Officially, this past Friday Tracey stepped into Conklin's former seat at Alleman High School, and anyone who knows Tracey knows that he will do exactly the job he always does — top notch.
While UT, last year, and Alleman, this year, both understand what they were/are getting and how lucky they are, it was Tracey who is handing out all the gratitude for being asked.
"When the people at UT and Alleman came to me here lately there was no hesitation that I would help them out," Tracey said. "I look at it this won't pay back either of the schools for all they gave me for 39 years between the two schools. I feel like this is the least I could do."
You have free articles remaining.
When there were questions whether Mark "Bam" Pustelnik would be back at UT last year, the first name to take over full-time was Tracey. Thankfully, Pustelnik came back this year and Tracey was never needed.
Again, this past week or so, there is talk about who will follow Tracey next school year. And the first person I thought of was Mike Tracey.
"I think Alleman is a very attractive place to work," he said. "but I am going to be 68-years-old when the school year starts next fall and that is a little late in my days to be starting over. I think it is a great job for a young guy to come in and take over."
Then again, Tracey has said this was it before, so we never know.
When he takes over a job he doesn't do it half way. Tracey jumped right into the firing pan with a 14½-hour day Friday that included a home Western Big 6 game. He was right back Saturday morning to work a girls' Big 6 game against Moline.
As good as he is at his job, Tracey also knows you have to lean on the people in the know. At UT it was AD assistant Sherri Harding and at Alleman is is Mar Wetherell.
"I do whatever Mar says, just as I did last year at UT with Sherri," Tracey said. "They make my job easier and I was lucky to inherit them. It also helps that I know how things work at each school, so I can step in quickly."
As he steps in at Alleman, he will do things just the way he did at UT last year, he will not try to re-invent the wheel. He wants to make sure things run smooth and easy for everyone.
"I'm like the seventh inning pitcher, I am coming in to hold the lead and let the closer come in and finish it," he said. "I have my own ideas but it is not for me to make changes. I want to see what other people did before and learn from that."
Just as so many have learned from Mike Tracey.
Jeff Wendland is lead prep sports writer for the Dispatch-Argus-QCOnline. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jaydub_DA