A New Beginning for Dakota Athletics

Meet the new Athletic Director, Mr. Finney!

Mackenzie Patenaude, Writer

    After Dakotas previous Athletic Director of many years, Adam Demorest, retired last year, Dakota has welcomed Shane Finney as the new A.D. for the 2022-2023 school year. Before he began his work here, Mr. Finney graduated from Eastern Michigan University- He is NIAAA Certified Athletic Administrator, and prior to the 22-23 school year, he taught in the Cranbrook Educational Community for 26 years. For 16 of those years, he was the A.D., before beginning his new journey at DHS. Since his arrival, Dakota students and athletes have been dying to find out more about Mr. Finney- so we asked him some burning questions suggested by your own peers. 


  1. Did you play any sports in high school? 

    Mr. Finney was a three-sport, year-round athlete in high school! He was a member of the football, basketball, and track teams, and after he graduated, he went to Eastern Michigan University- where he was a member of their track team as well! It is great to know he was also once a student athlete- he is able to relate to the students and truly understands the teenagers he is working with. 


  1. What inspired you to become an Athletic Director?

    Mr. Finney responded with “I love having the opportunity to help student athletes and coaches to be successful. It keeps me involved in sports and athletics, which I love. I love watching student athletes be successful”. And when asked “What inspired you to make the switch from Cranbrook to Dakota?”, he continued with, “I am a person who loves a challenge- and the opportunity that presented itself, to come to the biggest high school in the state- there was no greater challenge. After meeting administration, the students, and coaches, there was no doubt in my mind that this is where I want to be”. 

    The passion Mr. Finney has for his job is very reassuring to Dakota students, especially student athletes. It is encouraging to know that the person behind our athletics wants to be here, and passionately supports the best interest of Dakota sports and the students who make up the programs. 


     3.Where do you think sports stand in a high school setting? 

    “I think athletics are a key component to any high school- they are a community builder, and bring pride to the whole community”. It creates an “opportunity for the community to be involved with the school. A sense of community pride” that everyone can enjoy- not just students- because Mr. Finney hopes to help mold the culture at Dakota, especially with it being such a young school. He also expressed his excitement to work with our student section leaders, as the fans play such a huge role in the game. He believes the support of the community is an important part of high school athletics, and wants people to have fun and be part of the games.

    4.What are you looking forward to most this year in sports as Dakota’s new Athletic Director? 

    He says he is most looking forward to “seeing how Dakota operates. I didn’t come here to change Dakota; I came here to make it better. I ask myself, ‘how I can make it better for the students, coaches, and community?’”. 


    5.What skills do you bring in as the new Athletic Director?
    “I think I bring a lot of energy, and passion for educational athletics. I’m super organized, and I’m committed to putting the time in and just making Dakota the best Dakota it could be”. 


  1. Do you have any plans for the upcoming year?

    Mr. Finney says his plans are to see how things are running here at school. His intentions are to help our students and coaches, and he also said his “plans are to have Dakota athletics known across the state- rather than just Macomb County”. He expressed numerous times that he wants to build Dakota as a brand- he wants the state to know “who we are, what we stand for, we do things right, we play hard, we are respectful, and we are going to compete”. With Dakota being the biggest high school in Michigan, Mr. Finney believes that the school should and can be well-known and successful. 

   Mr. Finney also says he’s been asking the question, “How do we get involved with all our events?”- with this, he does mean the underrated and overlooked sports. After all, golf and bowling and women’s sports deserve just as much recognition as football. But he also adds “And I mean all our events- the plays, the performances, the other sports, everything.” It is a goal of his to promote all our athletes, as well as the rest of the students here at Dakota. Mr. Finney wants us to all be a community and support each other and our interests. “We’re the largest school in the state. We want to promote all our programs”, he says. One way he says they are doing this is by utilizing social media. “Nina Candela is our student intern; she does a great job with our social media” he adds. With frequent updates that are easy to access, Dakota Athletics is trying to support all the teams in the program. 

    Throughout the interview, Mr. Finney expressed, “We’re the biggest high school in Michigan- why can’t we be the best at what we do?”- and that is a great mindset to go into his new job with. He is here to advocate for the best interest and successes of Dakota Athletics, and with his passionate attitude, it is clear he is here to do great things.  

    With that, we are very thrilled and excited to welcome Mr. Finney to Dakota Highschool! Students and staff alike are looking forward to seeing what he brings to the school and athletics as the new Director, and wish him the best of luck this year!  

    “I fall in love with the place more and more every day, and I’m so happy to be here” -Mr. Shane Finney 

    We cannot wait to watch the great things you do with Cougar Athletics!