Passing the Mantle

Mark Kirby Passes the Mantle to Todd Radford


Fellow Vikings: Mark Kirby has faithfully served as LCS Athletic Director for the past 32 years. He has coached numerous sports and has led our athletic program with integrity and professionalism. His leadership has touched thousands of lives over the past 40 years at LCS. He approached me over a year ago about his  desire to “pass the baton” to Coach Radford and to transition to an Assistant AD role. We are grateful for Mark’s service and are delighted that he will continue to be an important part of Viking athletics. We are pleased to provide Coach Kirby’s reflections in this week’s Viking Views blog.

Mike  Sligh, Ed. D. – Headmaster
Head and torso picture of Mark Kirby
Mark Kirby

Dear Friends:

I am writing  to announce that I will be transitioning from my current role as Athletic Director to the role of Assistant Athletic Director. I am excited to be passing the baton to Todd Radford who will be providing leadership to Viking Athletics going forward. I am looking forward to supporting his efforts  as the LCS Athletic Director.

Forty years ago, as a 23-year-old right out of college and married only a week, my wife and I pulled into Mike and Mary Sligh’s house to begin our adventure with Lakeland Christian School.  What an adventure and blessing it has been to be a part of a school that lives its motto “Education in Light of God’s Word.” As I started my journey, Mike Sligh was the athletic director and head boys’ basketball coach.  LCS hired me to teach boys’ physical education, Bible, and coach the JV boys’ basketball team. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Sligh and still look up to him as my mentor.  He faithfully prayed for me and worked with this young greenhorn to mold and shape me. Sometime in the mid 80’s he encouraged me to think about moving to the position of athletic director in the future.  I resisted that idea for a time but in the fall of 1988 Coach Sligh moved to an assistant principal position and passed the baton of athletic director and varsity basketball coach to me.   I will always be thankful for his leadership and guidance over the last 40 years and value Dr. Sligh as a close friend.   What a rewarding ride it has been.

Although the growth of LCS over the last 40 years has been gradual, it has been significant.  As the school has grown, so has the athletic program.  When I became athletic director, we fielded 22 teams, and this year we had 44 teams from middle school through high school. The gym, back in 1988 was a light blue cracker box with a parquet floor in constant need of repair. That building is now the cafeteria. There was no Blanton Activity Center, that was the baseball field, there was no Viking Stadium, that was a grass soccer field.  I never dreamed back then we would have our current state of the art facilities and a building like the Roger Evans Athletic Center.

Over the span of 21 years my daughters grew up and graduated from LCS.  I could not have asked for better teachers and coaches for my four girls who were all multisport athletes. They were loved and nurtured, taught to think, and encouraged and discipled in God’s Word. Wow, what a blessing! There is no place I would rather have spent the last 40 years. 

Last summer I began to think about retirement and what that would look like. I knew that I was not ready to retire and as I began to contemplate my future my mind went to a sport I love, that of Track and Field. As I thought about the relay races and passing the baton, I realized that as A.D. I function as the team captain and the anchor runner in the race, the one who is responsible to bring the baton to the finish line. I have enjoyed that captain’s role and anchor position for some 32 years. I am not ready to retire; I definitely want to stay on the team and compete for the Vikings, but beginning this summer I am looking forward, with great anticipation of passing the baton to a new anchor runner, a new captain. I am excited to pass the baton into the very capable, competent, and confident hands of Mr. Todd Radford.


photo of Todd Radford holding a basket ball with an Lakeland Christian School blue shirt
Todd Radford

Todd and I have a long history of working together and I am pleased that he will be taking over the program.  Todd was a Lakeland Christian student in my early years at LCS and played on the varsity basketball team under Coach Sligh when I was coaching the JV team.  After Todd graduated from college we kept in touch through his position as athletic director and coach at Bradenton Christian and Athletic Director at Out of Door Academy in Sarasota.   I was thankful when the administration brought Todd back to be a part of the LCS family and especially thankful when he became my assistant and head of football operations.  Over the years Todd and I have had a good working relationship and mutual respect. Although our roles will change, I know we will continue to work together as a team. I will enjoy being a member of his team and doing all I can to set him up for success so that as the anchor man he can bring the baton to the finish line victoriously.

I trust that as coaches, parents, teachers, and student athletes, you will give Coach Radford the respect and help that he deserves and that you have given me.  It has been my privilege to serve as your athletic director and I look forward to the year ahead helping Coach Radford and continuing to serve you, just in a different capacity

Looking forward to an excellent 20-21 school year.

Pressing toward the goal …

Philippians 3:14

Mark Kirby