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  Notus Begins Season Without Longtime AD

Tim Dranginis departs Notus after a 30-year tenure with the Pirates as teacher, coach, athletic director and mentor

By: Brandon Hill
Published: 9/11/2019 1:54:28 PM

Before his head coaching debut in 2013, Sam Crockett sat in his office, realizing somewhere in the hours of pregame preparation, he failed to acquire a single piece of Notus Pirates branded clothing to wear on the sideline.

In a rush, Crockett grabbed the only Pirates cap he could find en route to his first kickoff. It wasn’t until after the game did he find out his briefly stolen hat belonged to his boss: Notus Athletic Director Tim Dranginis.

“I planned on giving it back, but every time he would tell me he didn't want a hat I had sweated in,” Crockett said. “After getting to know each other, we became friends." 

Dranginis, Notus High School’s athletic director for 26 years, recently retired from the 1ADI school to teach secondary special education in Elko County, Nevada. But his time serving in Notus athletics will not soon be forgotten, with 30 years of accolades and memories to remind his predecessors of his contributions, including turns coaching Notus football, boys basketball, softball and baseball.

Since first coming to Notus in 1989 from Nevada to teach physical education and health, Dranginis said he’s seen it all, from changes to 4-day school weeks to 10 different principals. But through it all, Dranginis said connecting with high school athletes drove his passion for coaching, which began just three years after becoming the Pirates’ AD.

Dranginis said finding a replacement football head coach in 1992 proved to be a challenge following many years of losing seasons, so he took up the moniker himself.

“Notus hadn’t had a winning season in a long, long time,” he said. “I went to a few summer clinics, watched some film of other good programs at the time and put together an offensive style.”

And while his team sputtered in back-to-back losses in his debut, Dranginis quickly hit the gas pedal, leading the Pirates to seven straight wins and a playoff berth, the first in school history.

Dranginis’s squad went on to win that first postseason game 20-8 under the bright lights of Holt Arena over North Gem, but the success of his team didn’t just stop after the ’92 season. 

With a year of experience under his belt, Dranginis and the Pirates stormed through the next two seasons, going 10-1 in ’93 and again in ’94. Dranginis said that stretch of dominance was key in establishing Notus as a powerhouse for years to come. After 17 years at the helm, Dranginis had earned the Pirates a 124-50 record and eight state championships.  

“Tim and I would talk a lot after games. He had some awesome insight that I really respected,” Crockett said. “Eighty percent of the banners at our school are from him being the head coach.  How could I not listen to that type of guy who had that type of success that I wanted too?”

During his decades-long tenure with Notus, Dranginis acquired a plethora of hardware for the Pirates’ trophy case and eight Coach of the Year honors in both football and basketball. Dranginis also spent a brief two-year stint as Nampa boys basketball head coach, and between the two schools he accumulated 377 wins on the court.

While teaching in Elko County, Dranginis serves as athletic director of Carlin High School, once again overseeing eight-man football. But while he spends his remaining years in high school athletics south of the Gem State, he said he will always consider Idaho home and plans to move back to Nampa following his retirement. 

Dranginis’s children take after their father, with all three having competed in athletics at the collegiate level. Meanwhile, his wife Julie continues to teach at Lakeridge Elementary in Nampa. 

“I think people that don't know Drag’ think he might be arrogant or rude. After knowing him for the past six years, I don't think that at all,” Crockett said. “He is the guy you want in your corner. He'll give you the shirt off his back or the hat in his office.”

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