Athletic Director Announces Retirement

Johnny Ringo set to retire this summer

After+a+38-year+career%2C+nine+of+which+he+served+in+HPISD%2C+athletic+director+Johnny+Ringo+is+set+to+retire+in+June.+During+his+tenure%2C+athletes+brought+home+a+combination+of+59+team+and+individual+state+titles.+Ringo+said+he+is+hopeful+the+district+will+find+someone+in+his+place+who+recognizes+how+great+the+district+is+and+is+ready+to+hit+the+ground+running.

Photo by Matteo Winandy

After a 38-year career, nine of which he served in HPISD, athletic director Johnny Ringo is set to retire in June. During his tenure, athletes brought home a combination of 59 team and individual state titles. Ringo said he is hopeful the district will find someone in his place who recognizes how great the district is and is ready to hit the ground running.

District athletic director Johnny Ringo announced his retirement, after a 38-year-long career in athletics, on Jan. 24.

The district sent a letter via email announcing Ringo’s retirement. Ringo is set to leave by the end of the 2021-2022 school year once his contract expires. 

Ringo started his tenure as the district athletic director in June 2013. In his nine years at the helm, athletes won 19 team state titles and 40 individual titles. In addition, the school won 12 UIL Lone Star Cups, which is more than any high school in Texas. The Lone Star Cup is the most elite award in Texas for UIL-regulated district and state championships, and it encompasses athletics, fine arts and academic UIL competitions.

During the holiday season, Ringo made the decision with his family to leave. 

“It just comes a point when you realize you can’t do it forever,” Ringo said. “It was a tough decision to make because this is such a great place.” 

As the director, Ringo led all boys and girls sports teams and coaches from grades seven through 12.

My favorite memory with Coach Ringo was celebrating together after the state championship game and accepting the trophy from him as he said ‘how about these Scots.’”

— head football coach Randy Allen

“A lot of it is behind the scenes that people don’t see as far as scheduling, facilities, transportations, budget, those types of things,” Ringo said. 

The construction and renovation of the gymnastics center, tennis center, indoor golf facility, locker rooms and weight rooms happened with Ringo’s help.

Head football coach and boys athletic coordinator Randy Allen said he will miss Ringo, who he described as his good friend.

“My favorite memory with Coach Ringo was celebrating together after the state championship game and accepting the trophy from him as he said ‘how about these Scots,’” Allen said.

Ringo has been involved in athletics himself since playing football for the University of Texas. He first coached at Eanes ISD and later at Uvalde, Irving MacArthur, Coppell and Plano East high schools. He also was an assistant coach at Southern Methodist University.

The Dallas Morning News awarded Ringo coach of the year in 1999, and the Dallas Cowboys honored him as coach-of-the-week four times. He served as president of the Texas High School Coaches Association from 2012 to 2013. 

The district will be looking for a new athletic director immediately, according to its newsletter.

The biggest thing is that person understands how great a place this is.

— athletic director Johnny Ringo

In his time as a coach, Ringo noted success in athletics was about more than performance on the field.

“Everything we do is about relationships and is relationship driven,” he said. “You think about all the great teachers in the building at Highland Park. You think about the great coaches, and every time you find one of those, it’s because of the relationship they have with students, and it is the same with athletes.”

He advises his successor to recognize the helpfulness of the school staff, system and community.

“The biggest thing is that person understands how great a place this is,” Ringo said. “Hopefully, they do the best they can to continue the success we’ve had. We’ll find someone great to come in here and become the new director, and they’ll hit the ground running.”