SOUTH PORTLAND — For Todd Livingston, athletics have always been a major part of his life, so much so that sports motivated him to stay in school, even in college.

Livingston File photo

“If it weren’t for sports I’m not so sure I would have made it,” Livingston said.

But he did make it and now, in his 10th year as the South Portland School Department’s athletic director, Livingston has been honored with a national award for his work. The National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) announced earlier this month that Livingston would receive the Bruce Whitehead Distinguished Service Award.

According to the NIAAA’s announcement, “The Bruce D. Whitehead Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to individuals from within the NIAAA membership in recognition of their length of service, special accomplishments and contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels.”

A South Portland native, Livingston said he has always loved sports, taking after his father who, when Livingston was born, was a junior at the University of Maine and played on the school’s baseball team.

Baseball became Livingston’s sport growing up; he even played for his father’s old team at the University of Maine. He graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in health, physical education and recreation education. From there, he did brief stints coaching at Massabesic High School in Waterboro and Cheverus High School in Portland.

In 1997, he landed a physical education teaching job at Greely High School in Cumberland. He stayed there for 10 years before becoming the assistant athletic director for the district in 2003, overseeing the middle school athletics programs and helping out at the high school. He went to Falmouth in 2007 where he served as assistant athletic director until 2011 when he came to South Portland as athletic director and he’s been here ever since.

School Superintendent Ken Kunin noted that Livingston is one of only 15 directors from Maine to receive the NIAAA’s award in the past 30 years, which speaks to Livingston’s dedication to his position. Kunin said Livingston “has earned this award for his mentorship of generations of coaches, athletes and athletic administrators.”

Kunin said Livingston has established himself as a fixture in South Portland athletics.

“Beyond being a constant presence for Red Riot athletics for many years, first as an athlete and now as athletic director, he has been a key figure supporting high school athletics across the state and nationally through his work with NIAAA,” Kunin said. “Whether setting up for a game at Martin Field or organizing a leadership summit, Todd recognizes the power of athletics to build character and skills for our student athletes that leads to a brighter future for them, their families and our community.”

Livingston said he appreciated the recognition, especially for work he has done in his hometown.

“I actually think it means more just because of what South Portland meant to me growing up,” he said.

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