A trio of former and current Bloomfield High School teachers and coaches witnessed David Dean's educational foundation being laid.
They saw the competitive fire in the student/athlete when he was in high school, and his motivation for doing things the right way.
And they're confident those qualities will carry over in his new job as principal at Bloomfield Jr./Sr. High School.
"He was very competitive and he wanted to get things done the way they should be done," current Bloomfield varsity basketball coach Ron McBride recalled. "He was a perfectionist on that.
"I think that will carry over to his leadership as an administrator."
McBride has been at Bloomfield for over 30 years, and formerly served as varsity baseball coach. Dean -- a 1985 Bloomfield graduate -- was his assistant in baseball and basketball when he was a math teacher at Bloomfield.
"I think at the time when he was with me, he liked being with kids and coaching kids. I just think that probably will all carry over (to being principal) ... his love for students and educating them," McBride explained.
Former Bloomfield varsity basketball coach and current Shakamak High School Coach Steve Brett agrees.
"We need more people like him who have coached go into administrative positions," Brett said. "I think they understand more about time management than other people would. When you're coaching, every minute counts."
Brett coached Dean in basketball.
"He was a good competitor and a very hard working young man," Brett recalled of Dean. "Since he's been in education, my observation of him is that he really cares about kids and I think he's a good person to be in that post.
"I know he cares about Bloomfield. He bled Cardinal red when he played there. He was one of those guys, he really didn't care about personal things. He wanted the team to do well and the team to win. He always represented Bloomfield very well."
Rex Kirchoff, a retired Bloomfield teacher and coach, had a lot of good things to say about Dean. He coached Dean in baseball for three seasons.
"He's always been very positive, optimistic, a positive attitude and energetic. He's easy to get along with. ... I really like the idea that the board has seen to bringing someone back who has local connections. I'm sure there are a lot of people who feel the same way," Kirchoff explained.
"We go to church together at the First Baptist Church. In fact, Shannon is one of our instructors in our preschool."
McBride said Dean was fair as a coach and teacher.
"He was fair, and he expected them to do things the way they should be done," McBride recalled of Dean's coaching days at Bloomfield. "On the other hand, he did it in a way that the students or the players could respect and get along with him.
"All those qualities will carry over into his administrative duties."
Though Dean has been serving as principal at Oolitic Junior High the past four years, he has lived in Bloomfield.
"Him being from around here and living here, and knowing the history of the school, I don't think it can ever hurt a person," McBride said. "It can always help you.
"He likes the community and people. Even though he worked outside of Bloomfield, he still lived here. So you know he likes the area. That's a plus. He's always wanted to stay around here."
Brett said he's talked with people from the Oolitic area from time to time, and they speak highly of Dean.
"Since he's been at Oolitic, I've not heard anything but good things. Once in a while I'll cross paths with someone from that area, and they brag on the good job he's doing," Brett explained.
"He's one of the guys who turned out very well from growing up in a small town like Bloomfield. He's an excellent product. He'll do a good job."
Kirchoff, who retired in 1998 after 34 years in education, is happy that one of his former student/athletes has returned.
"I think this is what he's been looking for. He was just waiting until he felt like he was ready," Kirchoff said. "He and Stella (Royal) will work well together. ... It just sounds like a good situation for Bloomfield and for him."
Brett takes pride in his former players doing well in life. But he added that Dean's parents deserve most of the credit for his success.
"It goes beyond basketball. I think a lot of that credit goes to his parents (Betty and the late Donald Dean). They raised him right. They were very supportive of his coaches and I think he'll do the same thing," Brett noted.
"You like to see kids do well and hopefully you have a good influence on them. But I give more credit to his parents.
"It's good to see young men like him go into education. He's the type of person we need in education. I'm sure he'll have good discipline and treat kids fairly. The main thing is, he's a good person."