Estus Departs Lees-McRae after 15 Years as Director of Athletics

BANNER ELK, N.C. - Distinguished 15 year Director of Athletics, Ried Estus, departs from Lees-McRae College after 22-years of service to be the vice principal at the Christian Academy of Knoxville in Knoxville, Tenn.

Estus came to Lees-McRae in April of 1987 when he started the school's women's soccer program in August of 1987. In his first three seasons, 1987, 1988 and 1989, he took his Lady Bobcats to the NJCAA National Tournament after they were crowned Conference and Region Champions. In 1992, 1993 and 1994 he took his teams to the NAIA National Tournament, and he was named Regional Coach of the Year four times in 1987, 1988, 1989 and 1994. In his 13 years as head coach, 1987-2000, he compiled a .702 winning percentage, with a 199-82-8 record.

Estus took over as Director of Athletics in 1994 and helped transition the school from the NAIA to the NCAA. He started seven new athletic programs and saw the restoration of three defunct athletic programs. Since he took the helm in 1994, the school has competed in a staggering 39 NAIA, NCAA or USA Cycling National Championship events. The athletic department won the then, Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference, Joby Hawn Cup for the best overall athletic department in the 2000-2001 year.

In his 22 years of service Estus has held the titles of Director of Athletics, head women's soccer coach, head women's tennis coach, head softball coach and physical education instructor.

"I've been the luckiest man I know for twenty-two plus years," Estus said. "I've had an administration and college that supported my every move, an exceptional staff willing to build their programs within my philosophy of athletics and a community that embraced me from the day I moved to Banner Elk. I told the Board of Trustees last week that I can't imagine any greater honor in my lifetime than to have served them as the Director of Athletics at Lees-McRae College.

"Ried has been a mentor to all of the coaches here at Lees-McRae," said assistant athletic director Craig McPhail. "He has given most of us our first collegiate coaching opportunity and provided us with the resources, guidance and support to be successful. Lees-McRae's athletic department is a product of his lifelong commitment to this college."

"I reached my dream job, and how many people can actually say that in their lifetime," Estus said.

McPhail will be named Interim Director of Athletics.