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Colgan High School hires a new activities director: Nate Staples

Former Potomac athlete and longtime coach embraces career as administrator

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Colgan High School director of student activities

Nathan Staples

Nathan Staples was recently announced as Colgan High’s director of student activities, making him the second in school history after Dave Huckestein, who retired after guiding the department through its first six years.

A former Potomac High multi-sport athlete who graduated in 2001, Staples played NCAA Division I football at Norfolk State – nearly becoming a head football coach first.

In 2008, he coached defensive backs and running backs at Freedom High School in Woodbridge, then was an assistant for the Eagles’ baseball, indoor track and outdoor track programs.

In 2014, he moved to Forest Park to coach defensive backs and offensive linemen. The following year he interviewed for the head job at Freedom, which went to Darryl Overton.

“I’ll never forget one of the comments from (Freedom activities director) Steve Bryson, who was one of my football coaches in high school,” Staples recalled. “They said they knew I was going to be an administrator, not a coach.”

Even at age 13, Staples said he was drawn to the administration side. “Outside of my father, who was in the Marines, those are upstanding people who I wanted to emulate,” Staples said. “They were my influences.”

Athlete first

After playing baseball, lacrosse and football, and running track at Potomac High, Staples went to Division II Shepherd University (W.Va.) to play defensive back. When a back injury derailed his development, he took two years off from the field. 

He considered following his father into the military, but opted to walk-on to the Norfolk State football team, earning a spot on special teams for two seasons.

“It was just the love of the game,” he said. “I felt like football was taken away, so I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could play at the Division I level.”

Waiting to be activities director

After he didn’t get the Freedom football job that went to Overton around 2015, Staples kept coaching at Forest Park, eventually becoming defensive coordinator. He also began studying for a master’s degree in educational leadership.

In 2018, Staples moved to Colgan as a teacher on special assignment, serving in that role for two years. After a year in the Virginia Beach system, he came back to Colgan in 2021 to be an administrative intern, prepping for the activities director gig.

Now the job is his.

 “I had a lot of people in my past who saw me being successful in this position, seeing something in me that I didn’t even see in myself,” Staples said.

Lots to do

In addition to overseeing the Sharks’ athletic programs, Staples is responsible for the school’s clubs and other activities, such as the Center of Fine & Performing Arts.

“I carry my work cell phone with me at all times now,” he said. “I’ve got so many calls and text messages and emails, all the back-and-forth with the coaches, referees, people working events. There’s a lot of things to consider.”

Staples says he looks forward to his work at Colgan.

“We have a standard of excellence,” he said. “We put in the time and effort to make sure our students know that they’re being treated with the best we have to offer.”

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