When Gus Lindine returned two weeks ago from an idyllic vacation in Italy, he assumed he would be able to ease back into his administrative responsibilities as Greenwich High School's athletic director.

"Normally I would be wrapping up last year and preparing for this year," Lindine said. "Meet the new staff, ordering and checking in equipment."

Instead, Lindine discovered that the school's seven athletic fields were closed after polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, at higher than acceptable levels were found in soil samples.

It is uncertain whether the fields will be available when practices for the fall season begin later this month, and Lindine has been forced to make contingency plans.

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"I got back to discover about the contamination," Lindine said. "At this point as an athletic director, and my colleagues would certainly concur, you come to expect the unexpected. Nothing surprises you anymore."

While it has been nearly two months since the final games of the last spring season were completed, and it will be another four weeks until the opening contests for the upcoming school year commence, area athletic directors are still busy behind the scenes ensuring that all the necessary pieces are in place when students return.

"I'm in three mornings a week, fine-tuning schedules, setting up scrimmages and ordering supplies, and as they come in getting them organized," said Pete Samperi, the AD at Stamford High School. "Making sure basically that on the first day we start, everything is going to be ready for the coaches and the teams."

By contract, Samperi and Westhill athletic director Mike King are obligated to work 195 days a year, a number each far exceeds before summer vacations begin for their staffs.

"We are required to work 10 days beyond teachers' contracts," Samperi said. "You figure during the first weeks of July, just ordering supplies, that's 10 days right there."

Tracy Nichols, the athletic director at Trinity Catholic, technically does not have to work a day in the summer. But he makes an almost daily appearance, even if it is just for an hour or two.

Nichols had an additional item of importance on his agenda: to interview candidates to replace Chris Gerwig as the Crusaders' hockey coach. Ken Smith was hired last week.

"There are a lot of things to do that need to be done," Nichols said. "Bus schedules, police schedules. The work is really year-round."

Nichols has a more diverse schedule than most athletic directors. He is also the school's baseball coach and runs a camp for two weeks at the start of the summer. Because there is no grounds crew at Trinity, Nichols helped put clay on the softball field and built two new mounds near the baseball field where pitchers can warm up.

Athletic directors are still able to work in leisure time, some finding a week or two to get away, others taking a day here or there.

"I usually will go on a cruise or on a vacation somewhere, but I didn't this summer," Samperi said. "I take a week to 10 days and just relax. I like to golf, do some fishing, and I get all my dental visits and doctor visits in. I like to work around the yard and on my house, general things I don't get to do over the year."

Lindine said his trip overseas was a rarity.

"I take a couple of days off when I can to break up the summer," he said. "I always work beyond the end of the school year and before the new school year."

Lindine said he is looking forward to putting the field issues behind him, and preparing for the part of his position he enjoys most.

"I'm ready to begin going to the games again," he said. "Now there aren't any kids at the school, and there aren't any coaches, and they are all the ones that make our job so enjoyable."