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Walnut Hills Athletic Director Tom Donnelly announces retirement

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Posted at 3:28 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 15:28:36-05

CINCINNATI -- Walnut Hills Athletic Director Tom Donnelly announced this afternoon he will retire at the end of this school year.

Donnelly has been an athletic director at Walnut Hills for the past nine years. He was at Clark Montessori for seven years prior to that.

Donnelly informed Walnut Hills Principal Jeff Brokamp of his decision in August.

“In 2008 I was brought in for a specific purpose: To create an athletic program that matches the excellence already found in the rest of the school -- the academics, music, arts, theater, teachers, administrators, Parent Board and Alumni Association,” Donnelly wrote in an email to the school, coaches and families.

“I have accomplished, as best I could, the mission given to me. Our athletics are now a source of pride for our students, families and alumni. Walnut Hills and its athletic program have gained the respect of the high school and collegiate athletic communities.”

Walnut Hills had added 23 teams, from archery and lacrosse to women’s golf and rugby, during Donnelly's tenure. The school has 37 sports, 95 teams and nearly 1,600 student-athletes.

The school also added a second turf stadium, a new high school gym, locker rooms for the stadium and high school gym, a six-lane natatorium, a new fitness center, a lighted six-court tennis complex and an indoor training facility with batting cages.

“None of this was done by me,” Donnelly said. “This is a tribute to the Alumni Association and our alumni. I do feel that the excellence we built in our athletic programs created an enthusiasm in our alums and was a part of setting the table for successful fundraising.”

In 2014, Donnelly was named an Athletic Director of the Year for Southwest Ohio. He was recently honored in Columbus for 15 years of service in Ohio high school athletics. 

"Cincinnati Public Schools appreciates the commitment that Tom has made to our students and families during that time," said CPS Athletics Manager Josh Hardin, a former Walnut Hills assistant AD. "He started the athletics program at Clark and the Walnut Hills athletic department has grown tremendously in the right direction since he came on board with Principal Jeff Brokamp."

Donnelly has countless memories of the teams, student-athletes and coaches and says he is grateful for all the accomplishments.

Donnelly's wife, Sharlotte, decided to retire in August after more than 40 years as a professor at Northern Kentucky University. So Tom Donnelly said it's the right time to retire next spring.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with and for Mr. Brokamp and the faculty, staff, coaches, families, and alumni of Walnut Hills High School,” Donnelly wrote. “My biggest hope is that I made you proud. I know I am proud to have been a part of Walnut Hills.”