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FARMINGTON — Kirtland Central will have a new athletic director with Keith Neil taking over the position for the 2017-18 school year.

Neil is entering his second year at KC. He served as the school's dean of students and the activities director for the 2016-17 school year.

Before becoming a Bronco, Neil spent time as at Farmington and Aztec, coaching a wide range of sports at both schools.

"I've always been a sports guy, and so getting a chance to be in a logistical and planning position for the sports side of things, I just love that," Neil said. "I'm a big planner and future thinker, and a lot of that goes into sports and making athletic programs functional. The opportunity to utilize my logistical planning skills, and using it with the sports that I love, it was just a great fit and great opportunity."

In addition to his new role as AD, Neil will be the assistant principal at KC.

Neil is part of an overhaul in the athletic departments within the Central Consolidated School District, which has named new athletic directors for each of its three high schools. Eric Stoval was named the AD at Shiprock while Eric Arpelar takes over at Newcomb.

"Keith has been in the area for a long time. He's been a coach and an official, so he understands athletics. He's a good fit," said Ben Tensay, the athletic director for CCSD.

Part of Neil's initiative for the athletic programs at KC will be to create a better environment for players, coaches, officials and fans, which he hopes will make Broncos' games can't-miss events for the community.

"I think as a whole, high school sports attendance is down, and I think it's because people have more options of things to do," Neil said. "There was a time when it didn't matter what else was going on, you were at the Friday night football game, whether you had someone playing or not, you were there. You were at a Tuesday night basketball game or a Saturday afternoon baseball game.

"A big thing I want to do is bring that excitement back into Kirtland Central athletics. I want to make it an event that people want to be a part of, and if they didn't attend it's something they really feel they missed out on something great."

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.

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