March 16, 2021
Today, I come to you with a grateful heart. In August of 2006, I interviewed for job that I did not have any previous experience. I was lucky enough to be offered the job of Athletic Director at NorthWood, by now close friends, Principal, David Maugel and retired Superintendent, Joe Sabo. It was a tough decision to leave Bremen but thanks to the support of my family we jumped in with both feet and went full steam ahead. Our family life changed when Kim was diagnosed with Cancer in October of 2018. The support we have received from Wa-Nee Community Schools as well as this community has been unwavering. We will never be able to begin to thank everyone enough. One of my many hero’s in this has been my secretary and friend, Rachele Hill. She has literally been the AD in my absence. Rachele’s professionalism with our coaches, athletes and community has been amazing. It was if I was never gone. There are many people that I need to thank, and I will personally get to those people in the coming days and weeks ahead. One person I would like to remember is Dr. Abel. When I first took this job, he taught me the history of how NorthWood came to be. I have a video of Dr. Abel telling of specific events that led to the birth of NorthWood on my phone and I watch it often. His love for this school was evident with each visit I shared with him. Dr. Abel taught me how to love NorthWood because of the coaches and athletes that came before me. His mentorship and friendship meant the world to me.
At the conclusion of this school year I will have completed by 30th year in education. I have done much soul-searching over the last several months and have come to the decision to retire as Athletic Director at NorthWood High School. The main reason for this decision is so that I can spend more time with Kim and be there for my three sons when I am needed. The hours, travel, and energy this job requires is tough to describe. I feel it is time for a new voice from someone that can devote what it takes to continue our success. I am proud to have served fifteen years at NorthWood in a job that is intense. I began coaching high school football at South Central when I was 19 years old and have not missed a season since. I was hired as a middle school teacher at Plymouth in 1990 and then moved on to Bremen in 1994. I was hired as the head baseball and assistant football coach, coaching some great teams winning a lot of games. I have estimated that I have been involved with approximately 12,000 high school athletic events between playing, coaching, officiating and as the athletic director over 38 years of IHSAA sports.
I am proud of the coaching staff that we have assembled at NorthWood. The sustained success our coaches and athletes have enjoyed will be something that I will always cherish. I have prided myself in always considering our coaches families first. I will miss those relationships tremendously, I wish all of them the very best. Another point of pride is that I vividly remember on the night that the school board approved my hiring, I was asked the question by a board member on how I was going to make all sports as important as our “Friday Night” sports. I believe that we have grown NorthWood Athletics into an all-around competitive and successful program across the board. We have provided all athletes the opportunity to compete in our conference as well as state championship levels. All-the-while still recognizing the importance of being successful on Friday night. Our participation numbers have grown, and our facilities shine with great pride. The building of the new Athletic Center is something this community should be extremely proud of. The Northern Lakes Conference is one of the best conferences in the entire State of Indiana. The relationships that I have with all the Athletic Directors and Principals at these schools have made my time here a wonderful experience and built friendships that will last forever.
A sincere thank you to the Wa-Nee Community for supporting our vision and ideals of high school athletics. The foundation of NorthWood Athletics was established long before I came here. My hope is that I was able to offer direction and guidance allowing this program grow, prosper and succeed. The importance that high school athletics play in the success of our athlete’s lives is unmeasurable. The support NorthWood receives from not only community members but local businesses is second to none. I am confident this will continue with the new leadership of NorthWood Athletics. NorthWood is a special place. My family is blessed to have experienced a lifetime of memories in high school athletics and for that I will be forever grateful.