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By Michael Leonard | Record Publishing Co.
With the recent retirement of Don Ross, the Woodridge Local School District has decided to bring some youthful exuberance to its athletic department.
Nick Mayer, 25, was confirmed by the Woodridge Board of Education as the district's new athletic director at a special meeting July 9.
According to Woodridge superintendent Walter Davis, Mayer will earn $66,923 in his position and will be the head of all extracurricular activities -- athletic or otherwise -- at the high school and the middle school.
Mayer, who had spent the last three years as the athletic director at Stanton Middle School in Kent, will only serve as athletic director, not as an assistant principal at the high school, as Ross did.
The Board also confirmed Raymond Braunscheidel as an assistant principal at the high school July 9. Ross retired as of July 1.
Davis notes combining the two positions was only a temporary move.
"Don was the first time we combined them," Davis said. "We did that when we were having some problems with levies and financial issues. Now that the levy has passed and we're back on solid footing, we wanted to make sure we just had an athletic director, which is best for the kids."
The district passed a 6.8-mill, 5-year levy in November 2012.
Mayer said he's been looking to move to the high school level for some time.
"I've been actually looking since I graduated with my master's (in May 2012)," Mayer said. "My time in Kent was absolutely phenomenal. I learned a lot and got a lot of experience, but I really wanted to get to the high school level.
I stayed the course. It was mostly because I had no experience at high school that I wasn't able to move up."
Davis said the district had "close to 20 applicants" for the athletic director job and that Mayer stood out early.
"Nick came very highly recommended," Davis said. "The folks over at Kent raved about him. We knew of him because Kent in is the same league as ours. When our position became available, he was at the top of our list. I had all kinds of people call me to recommended him."
"They're not going to be sorry," Mayer said. "I'm confident that I'm going to be able a really good job here. It's a really good district with a lot of good people already in place and a lot of good kids."
A native of Willowick and 2006 graduate of Lake Catholic High School in Mentor, Mayer graduated from Kent State University in May 2010 with bachelor's degree in sports administration.
While working at Stanton, he continued his education at KSU and graduated with a master's degree in sport and recreation management in May 2012.
"I wanted to work in a career where I could be involved with sports and the community and kids," Mayer said. "Obviously, this is a perfect career path for it."
Mayer said he knows he's walking into a district with a strong athletic tradition. In the 2012-13 school year, Woodridge won its sixth Division II boys state cross country title in last seven years, reached the state playoffs in football and won titles in the Portage Trail Conference County Division in several sports.
"I'm blessed to be coming into a very good situation," Mayer said. "Don Ross did a phenomenal job here. I really plan on trying to stay the course, for the most part. I plan on introducing some things with technology and social media, so that the community knows that we have some excellent kids."
Mayer said he's not looking at the moment to make any changes with regard to athletic facilities at Woodridge.
"I think that our coaches do a great job with the facilities that we have," Mayer said. "That said, I'm always looking at ways to improve."
Although he said he doesn't have much experience with non-sport extracurriculars, Mayer said he's ready to be the "point person" for the district's activities.
"For the band director to the clubs, we already have great people in those positions," Mayer said. "I will be multi-faceted and I'm looking forward to it."