The transition in athletic directors at Brick Township High School has been a bit smoother than the one taking place in Washington DC.

Rick Handchen walked out of his office for the final time yesterday and today begins his new life in Pinehurst, North Carolina in a new home not far from the Pinehurst Country Club.

Exit Handchen and enter Pete Panuska who has had on-the-job training working with Handchen and is fairly familiar with the athletic department.  Panuska is one of the greatest athletes in Green Dragons history, a football and track star who played football at the University of Tennessee before returning to Brick as a teacher and for the last ten years an administrator.

Handchen, who spent more than 30 years working in the school district was the athletic director at Brick for the past six years.  A 1977 Green Dragons graduate who played soccer, golf and ice hockey he was basically born to wear green and white.  His father Hank was the first athletic director at the school and served in that position from 1958-82. Following his retirement the East gym was dedicated and named the Harold “Hank” Handchen Gym.

Rick and his brother Hank were fixtures at sporting events growing up and it’s no surprise that both followed their dad’s footsteps into education.

It’s also not a surprise that Rick is retiring to North Carolina as he graduated from Elon College and maintains close relationships with several of his college friends.

Rick and his wife Crystal have a daughter Ashleigh who is in her final semester running track at the UNC-Charlotte.  Of course Pinehurst is known for its golf courses and clearly that’s where Rick will be spending a lot of his time…as they say “he’s got game.”

I’ll miss working with him. He was a friend who went out of his way to be helpful and a guy you enjoyed being around.  But if you’re going to lose someone like Handchen then replacing him with Pete Panuska is a great start.




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