Athletics Highlight: David Hanna



What treasures are in ICSD?
Hanna: I truly treasure our coaches and 
student-athletes. I am honored to work on their behalf every day. Coaches and student-athletes are unique because every week they represent our school in competition - tirelessly for love of their sport and for each other. 

What questions do you have for ICSD students?
Hanna: My question for them would be when you are 60 and look back on your life, what will you be remembered for? Did you live for others? Is your life one worth remembering?

Are you a leader or a follower?
Hanna: I'm a leader, leading allows me to magnify and enhance the abilities of others – but, I am proud that I have become a good follower. I am someone who is able and willing to put a leader’s vision into action.

What helps you handle pressure?
Hanna: Faith in my purpose and knowing that I am meant to be here. My experience as an athlete performing in stressful situations. Also, my experience as a coach when I have had to make informed, calculated but quick decisions in front of thousands of people.

How do you want to be remembered?

Hanna: I would like to be remembered as someone who worked harder than anyone else, was selfless in his actions, and was successful in bringing people together. In terms of Ithaca Athletics, I  want to be remembered as the leader who helped return Ithaca sports teams to prominence in terms of academics, athletics, and service.
What are your strengths?
Hanna: I believe my greatest strength is that I am a consensus builder. As a coach and when I worked in the mayor’s office in Baltimore, I had the task of bringing people together towards a common goal. I also would like to think that I am a realistic optimist, meaning that I see barriers as challenges that are to be met head on. One of the great things about coaching and leading is that you are always learning. As a coach, I developed the ability to learn a new task or job quickly. It is imperative as a coach and leader to be a great listener. Listening without an agenda is a tricky task but is the hallmark of a great leader. If I can truly learn from my staff, listen to students, and engage all as we seek to attain the same goals, then we are much more likely to be successful.
 
If you were a brand, what would be your motto?
Hanna: “Service to others, above all else.” Although it may seem corny and premature for me to be thinking about my legacy on earth, it actually is something I think quite a bit about. In all things - whether it is as a coach, with the non-profit organization I founded in Haiti, or now as the athletics officer in Ithaca - I try to first think how can I serve, what impact can I have.  Servant Leadership is
a main tenet of our athletic department because I believe the greatest organizations are filled with selfless individuals working towards a common goal.
 
Why are you a member of the ICSD team?
Hanna: I am so excited to join the team to make a difference in the lives of young people. I was a college football coach for the last 11 years. I see myself first as a coach, teacher, and educator. Although college coaching at some of the best academic institutions in the world – such as Cornell University, University of Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins, and Washington & Lee University gave me tremendous experience and was rewarding, I believe I can make more lasting, positive, and broad changes
through working in our school system.
 
What motivates you?
Hanna: Making Ithaca Athletics the beacon of athletic and academic excellence in the region. We have such a strong tradition of athletic excellence across a range of sports, but we have not been as consistent in recent years. I am motivated to mirror the phenomenal gains our district has made in academics and in the arts. Our school is recognized nationally as one of the best places to send your child for academics and the arts. We are working to make the same true for our athletic teams.
 
Who has or continues to mentor you?
Hanna: The irony of whom I consider my 
mentors is that I have never met a number of them. I have read their books, listened to them speak, and have tried to emulate some of what I have learned from how they live their lives. Tony Dungy is a retired professional football coach who won a super bowl. He taught me the value of living a purposeful life. He is an example of grace under pressure. Lovie Smith is another professional football coach who embodies how to lead by example, and - how despite pressure - one can always choose to put his coaches and players above all else. The most important figure who has shaped who I am today is my dad. He continues to teach me the value of sacrifice and being a man of action - not talk.