Athletic directors have complex jobs no matter what level of program they run. They have to be able to wear many hats, be ready to adapt, and develop and strengthen a program to ensure both its success and the success of the student-athletes involved. Every athletic director brings their own strengths to the position, but here are some of the skills and traits that they tend to have in common.

Leadership Skills

Leaders make the people around them better by providing motivation and a sense of direction. They also draw people together, even when they disagree, and help a program through whatever conflicts or setbacks it faces. Everyone leads differently, but modeling integrity, resilience, diligence, tenacity, and heart for your community will inspire others to embrace those qualities.


Good leaders hire good people, and the people athletic directors hire can shape the whole program. Deciding who is going to be responsible for different parts of the program is one of the keys to success, but it’s not just about qualifications: someone who looks good on paper could have an attitude that clashes with the program. Understanding people and making decisions about them based on intuition is important for any athletic director.

Communication Skills

When your job involves dealing with coaches, officials, athletes, parents, administrators, teachers, and other community members, you need to know how to talk or write to them. Everyone has different needs and perspectives, and knowing how to communicate the values and expectations of the program to them is an athletic director’s key to success. It also involves listening to their concerns and answering questions.

Problem Solving Skills

Making the right decision for the right reasons is hard but essential. When resources are hard to come by, it’s usually the athletic director that has to make the tough choices about where to allocate time, money, or personnel. They need to analyze every side of a situation and make as many people happy as possible.

Passion and Vision

Anyone who becomes an athletic director has a passion for sports and understands the potential impact they have on people’s lives. This gives them the ability to know what the programs need and the opportunity to genuinely offer their full support to a variety of coaches, athletes, and sports. Passion also means understanding the community’s needs and creating a vision for the program and adapting it as necessary.


Hard work is important for athletes and officials alike, but athletic directors are prone to working particularly hard. At the same time, it’s important for athletic directors to keep in mind that fun is part of athletics. Student-athletes are still students, after all, and they’re playing the game because they love it. It’s the job of an athletic director to create a supportive and fun environment that their kids will remember fondly for years to come.

Organization Skills

Athletic directors have a lot to keep track of. There are procedures to keep in place, rules and regulations to remember, schedules to make and keep, budgets to stick with, and many people relying on the athletic director. The responsibilities can be overwhelming, and it’s important for any potential athletic director to have the organizational skills to keep things straight.

ArbiterGame can help athletic directors stay organized and focus on the parts of their job that really matters. Keep all of the essential details in one place and manage them over time. All of your organization information is available and searchable, and you can monitor who’s complying with your rules, decide who can see or edit information, and track any changes that could otherwise blindside you. For more information on Arbiter360 or any of our tools for athletic directors and game officials, call 800.576.2799 or email us at