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Hester wrapping up work in the county

Friday marks the end of an era in Hillsborough County athletics. That's when Sonny Hester, a prominent county figure for four decades, will work his last day as Brandon athletic director. On Jan. 18 Hester beings his new job as senior director of athletic operations and officials for the Florida High School Athletic Association.

Hester, 53, and his wife, Pixie, are moving to Gainesville.

"It wasn't a tough decision," Hester said. "It's not like I'm moving to the Midwest. We're close enough that we can come back anytime we need to. I don't feel like I'm leaving Tampa. It's only an hour and 45 minutes away."

Hester, a native of Maryland, moved here in 1970 to play baseball at the University of Tampa. By the mid-1970s, he was working at Jesuit. He stayed there for 29 years, the final 17 as athletic director, then left for Brandon in 2003.

Hester is no stranger to the FHSAA.

He served six years on the association's board of directors and one year as board president. In his new role, Hester will run district, region and state tournaments, and oversee the referees and game officials program.

"I'm not apprehensive at all," Hester said. "I'm very excited to be a part of that leadership program."

_ KEITH NIEBUHR, Times staff writer