New Wilton athletic director looking forward to leading program: ‘Wilton has such a deep history’

A man of many titles, Robert “Bobby” Rushton Jr., shown, has been selected to be Wilton High School’s next athletic director.

A man of many titles, Robert “Bobby” Rushton Jr., shown, has been selected to be Wilton High School’s next athletic director.

Contributed photo

Bobby Rushton has been a teacher and coach in New Canaan for the past 12 years and, during that time, has had his sights set on a higher goal of becoming an athletic director.

Getting that opportunity at Wilton High School is the perfect next step for Rushton.

“It has to be the right fit,” Rushton said. “And 12 years ago it was for New Canaan and right now it is for Wilton.”

Rushton was announced as Wilton’s new athletic director earlier this week and will officially begin his new job on July 1. He’ll be taking over for Chris McDougal, who resigned in December after nine years with the school.

“Wilton has such a deep history, just like New Canaan does,” Rushton said. “They’re strong, they’ve got great coaches, they’ve had a lot of success and a lot of good things are in place. I’m just grateful to have the opportunity to be the next athletic director.”

Rushton participated in a “rigorous interview process,” according to a release from Wilton Public Schools, which included two interviews before a 17-member panel of faculty, coaches, students parents and central office staff, as well as a final interview with members of the central office staff, the Board of Education and Wilton High administrators.

“Bobby comes to us with impressive energy and vision,” said Dr. Kevin Smith, Wilton’s superintendent of schools. “His strong interpersonal skills, combined with his deep commitment to students and depth of participation in high-quality Fairfield County athletic programs, make him the ideal candidate to lead our high school athletic program.”

Rushton has been the head coach of New Canaan’s wrestling program since 2019, after spending six years as an assistant for Paul Gallo, and he is in his 11th year as a coach in the Rams’ boys lacrosse program, including nine year’s as the offensive coordinator.

Rushton has also been heavily involved with the New Canaan Youth Lacrosse and Football Associations.

“What I love is building relationships,” Rushton said. “That’s why I originally started with lacrosse in New Canaan and then jumped in with Paul (and wrestling), so I got to interact with another group of kids. That’s what I’m going to continue to do: Build relationships with Wilton faculty, coaches and student-athletes.”

An elementary school teacher at South School in New Canaan, Rushton said he didn’t want to “be in the classroom forever,” and had a goal of administration. He earned his Master of Science in athletic administration from Ohio University in 2015, and completed his administrative certification requirements in 2018.

Also in 2018, he became an executive director with the New Canaan Athletic Foundation, working with athletic director Jay Egan and the town’s fields committee.

“The piece I was missing was the athletic foundation and the bigger vision of where it seems like high schools are going,” Rushton said. “The fact that I had the background and the vision of how to run a program and being involved with youth wrestling all the way up to high school, that was something I think Kevin Smith, the Superintendent of Wilton really liked.”

For the moment, Rushton is still teaching at South School and coaching the New Canaan’s boys lacrosse team, which recently had one of its biggest wins in years with an 11-10 decision over Darien.

Rushtin said he is also be looking ahead to his new job and working with MacDougal on the transition in Wilton.

“I want to go out on a good note here and leave everything buttoned up,” Rushton said. “I owe a lot to New Canaan. They’ve done a lot for me here. What New Canaan did was believe in a young kid who never taught before and this is a rigorous district. That’s been nice and Wilton is the next phase of my career.”; @dstewartsports