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The City Journals

Longtime athletic director retiring from Juan Diego

Sep 09, 2021 09:55AM ● By Catherine Garrett

Chris Long (center) stands with JDCHS softball coach David Montoya and Hillcrest softball coach Anthony Ricci at a game this season. Long taught both coaches at Judge Memorial. (Photo courtesy Chris Long)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

After more than a decade at the helm of the Juan Diego Catholic High School athletic program—and a total of 43 years in education—Chris Long has hung it up.

“It sounds cliché and it is cliché, but it’s a lot like when I stopped coaching [in 2000]; when you don’t have the fire in your belly, it’s time to move on,” Long said. “I’m a lousy delegator, as my greatest strength and greatest weakness is just to get it done. I’ve been gone continually so many nights each week, especially in the winter, that I decided this would be my last year. Plus, my wife retired too [as a counselor at Granger High] so now it’s time to travel and do some writing.”

Long spent 38 of those years at Judge Memorial Catholic High School as well as JDCHS, officially retiring at the beginning of June but “keeping one foot in and one foot out,” to help the transition. Juan Diego hired former Carbon High Athletic Director and high school and college basketball coach Ted Bianco along with Associate AD Danny Larson to fill the role that Long held for the past 11 years.

Long’s route in education began at Bingham High student teaching A.P. English while also heading up the Miners wrestling program following his 1978 graduation from Westminster. Five years later, he found himself at JMCHS again teaching English— being named Teacher of the Year twice—and as the head wrestling coach.

In 2000, Long became the Assistant Principal for Student Services when JDCHS opened. “Coming to Juan Diego was a new beginning for me,” Long said. “It was really fun to be a part of something brand new. We had to figure out how we do things and I was so grateful to have my opinion sought after and valued, especially by [principal] Galey Colosimo.”

Among the accolades Long has received over the years are his inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers and Utah State Board of Education Outstanding Contributors to Education and the 2021 UHSAA Region 1 Athletic Director of the Year. Additionally, he served as a past president of the Utah Wrestling Coaching Association.

All three of Long’s children graduated through the same Catholic schools he worked at. Daughter Amanda and son Ian graduated from Judge in 1997 and 1999, respectively, while daughter Abbie was in Juan Diego’s class of 2005. They all followed their father’s footsteps and are teachers, including Amanda who is at JDCHS.

Long said his dedication to “showing up, being present and paying attention,” throughout his journey has brought him such fulfillment for so many years. 

“I have so many connections with kids and people that are special,” he said. “It really gives you the feeling that your career had some meaning.”