Chris Collins
The Baker City Herald

A 1993 Prairie City High School graduate whose parents and in-laws continue to make their homes in Grant County will join the Baker School District administrative staff as a full-time athletic director in the coming year.

The Baker School Board approved the hiring of Buell Gonzales Jr. for the newly created position Tuesday night. The salary range, on a 260-day contract, is listed at between $95,193 to $116,039, based on the administrative salary schedule.

Gonzales had been employed as athletic director at the Brooking-Harbor School District on the southern Oregon Coast. He was one of 17 applicants for the Baker position, Superintendent Mark Witty said after a Tuesday meeting of the Baker School Board.

Witty said the hiring process included a 10-person committee including a member of the Baker Sports Complex Board.

In making his pitch to the School Board earlier this spring to move the athletic director’s position to a year-round administrative job rather than that of a teacher on special assignment during the school year, Witty pointed to the potential for scheduling summer sports activities at the Sports Complex and other District sites.

The full-time administrator will be “intentional”about attracting tournaments and other special events with money generated going back into maintenance and repairs for the facilities, Witty said. Those events also will bring money into the community as people participating and attending those events stay in motels and eat in restaurants

Gonzalez’s father, Buell Gonzales Sr. is well-known for his success as a basketball coach at various schools in the region, including Prairie City and Long Creek, Witty said.

The senior Gonzaleses live at Prairie City and their son’s in-laws live at John Day. Buell Jr. and his wife have grown children.

See more in the June 19, 2019, issue of the Baker City Herald.