RICH BALCOM IS THE NEW DURAND ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, following the resignation of Chris Deines who took the athletic director position at Ortonville-Brandon over the summer. Balcom, a 1979 graduate of Durand High School (DHS), spent the 2015 school year as the Morrice Athletic Director, on a part-time basis, and he is excited to return to his alma mater, and to be working full time at a job he enjoys.
“I had a blast at Morrice last year,” Balcom said Thursday, Aug. 25. “It was a real family atmosphere, which is one thing I am going to bring back to Durand with me. I always knew I would come back to the Durand area. My mother still lives in town, my brother lives in Elsie, and my sister lives in Bancroft, so I am really glad to be back in Durand. I’m thankful for the opportunity I have been given. As much as I loved being in Morrice, I could not pass this job up.”
Balcom was very involved in athletics and extra-curricular programs during his time at DHS, participating in choir for all four years, concert band his freshman year, basketball during his freshman and senior years, the marching band all four years, the jazz band in his sophomore year, the symphonic band from his sophomore through senior years, tennis during his sophomore and junior years, wrestling during his sophomore year, Madrigals during his junior year, and baseball and football his senior year.
Following high school, Balcom enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served for four years. He then earned a Bachelor degree in Telecommunications at Michigan State University on an ROTC scholarship, and then spent four years as a lieutenant in ROTC at Fort Hood in Texas. After fulfilling his military commitments in 1990, Balcom took a job with the Sonoma County Sheriff Department in California, where he worked for 15 years as a corrections deputy. In addition to enjoying a career in law enforcement, Balcom lucked out by meeting his wife, Michelle, who also worked for the Sonoma County Sheriff Department. Balcom has also spent a number of years officiating baseball at the high school and junior college level, before advancing to officiate Division 1 college baseball and AA minor league baseball.
Balcom knows he is taking over a rising sports program and is looking forward to continuing to rebuild the school’s athletic programs. In addition to focusing on creating a family atmosphere amongst all of the school’s athletic team’s staff, Balcom is going to continue DHS’s focus on promoting multi-sport athletic participation. Durand is one school that allows its athletes to play dual sports during the same athletic season, and Balcom will follow Durand Area Schools Sup’t. Craig McCrumb and High School Principal Dave Zuehlke lead in making athletic specialization a thing of the past. (Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)