At 23, DJ Dowdy of Purcell Marian may be youngest athletic director in Ohio

Former UC tight end thinks he's found his calling

CINCINNATI – When he was playing tight end for the University of Cincinnati, DJ Dowdy hoped of playing in the NFL. But that changed after he took his first job out of college.

The 23-year-old Akron native believes he’s found his calling since becoming athletic director at Purcell Marian two months ago. He’s believed to be the youngest high school AD in Ohio.

“Maybe my calling wasn’t meant to be catching TDs on Sunday,” Dowdy said during an interview in the high school gym. “Maybe my calling was meant to be a setting like this – helping kids make it to the next level.”

Dowdy said it was a little grounding when he started his new job among kids just a few years younger than him.

“To be called Mr. Dowdy kinda took me back, like, ‘Hey, this thing is real. I’m not just D.J. who plays football,” he said.

Principal Andy Farfsing said Dowdy is a natural for the job. When it opened suddenly in November, he turned to his former intern.

“His age doesn’t define what he can do,” Farfsing said. “He’s good with the kids. He’s good with the adults and certainly with the parents as well. It’s pretty good when you haven’t had one complaint from a parent about an athletic director.”

Dowdy has a big smile and greets students with fist bumps, handshakes and hugs. You can tell he likes where he is and what he’s doing.

Helping kids is his motivation, he said.

“I’m excites me. I get chills just talking about,” Dowdy said. “Definitely working with the youth – kids of all ages – I can see that in my future.”

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