MEAD — Frank Buck is the type of passionate administrator that schools love to have on to staff.
Unfortunately for Mead High School, the seven-year athletic director is switching jobs after being diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. But on the flip side of that coin, Coal Ridge Middle School in Firestone is getting Buck as its new assistant principal.
Either way, nothing is keeping Buck from working with kids. Not even cancer.
"I've been reading some books on how people have dealt with stage four lung and stage four colon cancer and they say if all you can do is get out of bed and walk to the couch, you do it," Buck said. "You don't take it lying down. Sometimes I feel like I don't want to get out of bed but I do it anyway. I'm not going to let it beat me. I'm going to keep fighting and enjoy every minute I can."
Buck was diagnosed on Jan. 20 and had surgery on Jan. 27. The surgery, the recovery from with he says was the worst part of his treatment, successfully removed the cancerous tumor. He finished his sixth round of chemotherapy in May and then he began radiation in several areas.
His treatment is going as well as can be expected, but Buck simply needed to focus full-time on his health while continuing his treatment so he elected for a position change that would relieve him of some of the many demands that come along with being a high school athletic director. The bottom line, though, is that he gets to keep working with kids.
"People always kind of look at me funny but I try keep that positive outlook," Buck said. "The treatments and the radiation aren't all that fun but considering what I was diagnosed with, it's going as well as can be expected."
Buck started another round of chemotherapy last Monday.
Replacing Buck, longtime area teacher and coach Chad Eisentrager has taken over as athletic director at Mead as of June 22.
"I'm super excited, obviously," Eisentrager said. "It's an awesome opportunity and an awesome school. Frank Buck has been a great athletic director here for years so there are some big shoes to fill. Now that I've been there for a month or so and met the coaches, set policy, things like that, it's been a great transition."
Eisentrager has been a teacher at Frederick High School for the past eight years. He coached boys golf for four years, boys soccer for four years and girls soccer for six years at Frederick. Before that, he coached girls soccer for two years at Niwot and coached boys and girls soccer at Northglenn for two years before that.
In preparation for a potential move to an athletic director position, Eisentrager has been interning with Frederick athletic director Ernie Derrera.
"I'm fortunate to have gotten such a great opportunity," Eisentrager said. "Mead is one of those destination schools. We also have great support from parents and the community, excellent coaches and great athletes. That's bred a lot of success already and now I'm looking to see how we can keep that going and improve."