Rodriguez announces retirement after more than four decades

Skye Kinkade
After 42 years, Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District Administrator Mike Rodriguez will retire from his position, effective Sept. 30.

Forty-six years ago, Mike Rodriguez was a young man two years out of Fresno State, looking for a job to utilize his bachelor’s degree in Park and Recreation Management.

In June of 1973, he left his home in Kingsburg and began driving north to Mount Shasta, where he had a job interview with the Recreation and Parks District at 7 p.m.

“I called them at 6 from Sacramento and told them I wasn’t going to make it,” Rodriguez said. “I knew Mount Shasta was past Sacramento ... I had no idea it was hours past.”

Rodriguez said the board told him they’d wait for him, so he kept driving.

“I drove through town in the dark, saw there were two stoplights, ran through one of them and made it to the city park four hours late. The board interviewed me at 11 and offered me a recreation program position for two years,” Rodriguez said.

Two years turned to five, and as time went on, Rodriguez gained more and more responsibility, rising to district director, and, since 1987, administrator.

Last Tuesday, the MSRPD board accepted Rodriguez’s letter of resignation, effective Sept. 30.

“I didn’t think this would ever happen, but it’s the right time,” said Rodriguez from his San Francisco Giants-themed office at the Mount Shasta City Park on Friday. He has accepted a six month contract to stay on with the district as operations director to ensure the transition goes smoothly.

Over the years, Rodriguez has been integral to Mount Shasta’s park system, developing Shastice Park, the Mount Shasta Youth Sports Park, the Siskiyou Ice Rink and Mount Shasta High School’s Martindale Field, as well as implementing Junior Giants in the area.

He also oversaw the senior programs, including the Senior Nutrition Program for decades, hosting special events and connecting with the participants.

“The board of directors is working on a transition plan to provide a leader for the district,” said director Steve Mitrovich in a press release regarding Rodriguez’s retirement. “As operations director, (Mike) will be able to make sure that over 40 years of knowledge of the parks will not be lost. Mike cannot be replaced but his position will be.”

Rodriguez said he plans to stay in Mount Shasta and wants to spend more time with his family. He said his career has blessed him with unforgettable friendships and opportunities that he has yet to wrap his head around, such as his induction into the Junior Giants Hall of Fame in 2016.

“People come back and check in ... past employees and past participants in things like day camps,” said Rodriguez. “There’s been a lot of enjoyment. I came up here not knowing what my career would be like and here I am, all these years later. I hope I have touched many lives and I will continue to do what I can for the district.

“I’ll need to see what my next chapter looks like,” Rodriguez added. “I’ll golf, and do CrossFit and go to games, but I still want to be involved somehow.”

Rodriguez said he would like to continue in his role as commissioner of the Mt. Shasta Junior Giants.

He described growing up a Giants fan and the experiences he’s had since, being inducted into the Hall of Fame and meeting Giants greats, both from the past and present.

Rodriguez said what he loves the most about the Mount Shasta community is the natural surroundings, but most of all, it’s the people who make it so special.

“It’s the caring attitudes. Caring for one another is just what we do.”

Rodriguez thanked the current board and many past boards for their support as well as his “committed and dedicated staff for their continued support and team spirit in providing recreation opportunities for this great community and the many visitors that enjoy our parks.”