by Ken Brown
CRAFTSBURY – After just one year, Connor Bean is stepping away from his athletic director duties at Craftsbury Academy (CA) and will embark on a new challenge at Bellows Falls Union High School in Westminster.
Bean’s hiring last summer at 23 years old, continued a youth movement wave across the state of leadership at the athletic director position. He replaced a 27-year-old Gabriela Silva, who is now excelling as the head of the athletic department at Peoples Academy. Bean carried on Silva’s mission of sustaining and reviving Charger varsity athletics, with a participation rate of over 70 percent among the student body.
He partnered with CA alum Shaun Allen this spring to reboot the baseball program, with their first junior varsity team at the school in over four years. Allen has partnered with several members of the community to devote much of their free time in the summer to youth baseball. The vision is to bring varsity baseball back to CA as soon as 2024 and early participation numbers at the youth level are making that dream a real possibility for years to come.
Bean was a standout bowler at Oxbow and at Union College. He graduated with a degree in Sports Recreation Management and has been heavily involved in growing the sport of bowling at the varsity level across the state for the Vermont Principals Association (VPA) the last two years. CA fielded their first ever varsity bowling team under Bean this past winter with resounding success. Lake Region’s Matt Wilcox claimed individual state-runner up honors for the Chargers in March and the team claimed their first team title and four runner-up finishes during the regular season.
An opportunity to lead the athletic program at Division III Bellows Falls in the southern part of the state proved too good to pass up for Bean, but he admits the decision was not easy.
“I just made my announcement to the district late last week and as of right now a decision has not been made on my replacement at this time. I’ve enjoyed my time as A.D. at Craftsbury Academy. The kids were amazing and kind and I love what we started to build here by adding sports like bowling and bringing baseball back. I spent a lot of my time there over the past year and it felt like a second home in many ways. I’m going to miss it and it was an extremely hard decision to make, but I feel like I did the best for me and my family,” said Bean.
Bean will also be the new director of High School Bowling for the VPA this coming season on top of his duties as AD at Bellows Falls. He had additional thoughts on his experience over the past year at CA and the special relationship between the school and its community.
“…My time at CA has been incredibly rewarding and I am immensely grateful for the experiences, friendships, and memories I have gained during my tenure as athletic director. The passion and dedication of the students, staff, parents, and community members have made this position truly special. I have been honored to be part of such a supportive and vibrant environment. While I’m excited about the possibilities that await me in this new chapter of my professional journey, I cannot help but feel a sense of sadness in leaving behind a place that has become like a second home to me. I learned and grew, not just as a professional, but as an individual as well. I am confident that CA will continue to thrive and build upon these successes under the guidance of capable hands and although I will be physically departing, my spirit will always remain connected to this incredible community…” added Bean.