It's all a matter of title.

At his current post at Homestead High School, Ryan Mangan is listed as both activities and recreation director as he is responsible for both the direction of the high school athletic department as well as that of the Mequon/Thiensville Recreation Department.

It's a broad and challenging scope.

But when he gets to his new job at Arrowhead on July 1, Mangan's title will be simply activities/athletics director for the high school.

A much narrower focus indeed.

Mequon-Thiensville Superintendent Dr. Demond A. Means isn't taking the defection of Mangan personally. Arrowhead made the announcement on March 24 having directly recruited Mangan for the post after longtime Arrowhead AD Kevin Flegner announced that he would be taking a similar post in Oconomowoc.

'He (Mangan) told me he was moving on (on March 23),' said Means. 'He told me that this was something he was not looking for but that they personally sought him out. It all moved very fast, he said. I told Ryan I was very happy for him. Happy that he had the opportunity to focus on just one job.'

In a way, Means knew it was a form of flattery that the state's pre-eminent prep athletic showcase in Arrowhead, one with as many WIAA state titles to its credit as most schools have conference crowns, would make such a strong effort to hire away Mangan.

Means knows it is just business and that with the far more rapid turnover of athletic directors these days, he was pleased that Mangan was able to give the district six strong years, an effort that has included the still ongoing expansion of facilities centered around the football field/track.

But the post of AD is rapidly becoming a short-term job now. It has been estimated by one area AD that there are up to 80 to 100 new hires each year across the state and that the current average workspan for one is only three or four years.

But Means is making plans to make the Homestead athletic director's slot a bit more attractive and hopefully a little more permanent than that. He knows it will require a little bureaucratic maneuvering at this point, though.

He is already starting to consult with Homestead Principal Brett Bowers, the human resources department and the business department as to whether the athletic director's job can be separated from the Mequon/Thiensville Recreation Department position to which it is currently tied.

In fact, when you look up the recreation department on Yahoo, you discover you get to it through the school district's home page.

It's been that way in the Mequon/Thiensville area for several years now. It is not an uncommon situation statewide, but Means knows it is an additional burden for one person and he understood the attraction for Mangan to simplify and amplify his career.

'We have been put in a position where we have to accelerate this process and find a way to separate the two jobs,' said Means. 'We've started the conversations and we're going to sharpen our pencils and see if we can do this. Because if you separate the jobs, it (the Homestead AD position) becomes very attractive.'

The look-see Means and other school district administrators will take will also include studying who the AD reports to and who the recreation department manager will report to. The possibility of increasing pay for coaches and increasing the AD's budget are among other ideas being discussed. Means said all these thoughts are just in the study phase while the district looks to make a new hire.

'We will be looking at what would be the most efficient model, what is the best model to recruit the best talent for AD,' Means said. 'It will come down to money — if we can find enough to separate the jobs and make this work.'

Because he knows his district is one that takes pride in both academic as well as athletic achievement and though he admires the Arrowhead School District, Means does not want Homestead playing second fiddle to the folks out in Merton.

'The Homestead job is the best in Wisconsin,' he said. 'Arrowhead's is second best.'