100 days and counting…
Counting down from 162 days since being named as Marshall’s new athletic director, parents and fans alike had to listen to me over the summer excitedly pronounce how many days remained until my official start day of July 1st. Now just 100 days into my new position, it really doesn’t seem like 262 days ago when I was blessed with such a wonderful opportunity.
So much has taken place in that time I thought it would be worthwhile to reflect on some of our shared accomplishments.
July 1st – day one. It’s a Sunday, but I’m up early working on short and long-term goals, and looking forward to moving into our temporary office space.
July 2nd – Monday morning. An opportunity to get in early before Jackie arrives in hopes of preparing her office for our first official workday. For those of you who haven’t met Mrs. Flint, Jackie earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in physical education and health education from Eastern Michigan University, and graduated from Northern Arizona University with her Masters in Education degree in Educational Leadership. She has served as an athletic director, coach and physical education instructor at a small private school in Arizona. Jackie teaches one PE class this fall in our middle school.
8:00 A.M. – Mr. D. J. stops in to welcome Jackie and me, but also informs us that water damage from the June rainstorm may have damaged a great many football uniforms and equipment. Assessing the damage takes time, and ultimately we decide to have the uniforms professionally cleaned. How much did she say that would cost? What a start…
11:00 A.M. – Sensing we’re now four hours behind schedule, it’s time to set in motion our first major initiative – the implementation of our concussion management protocol for all student-athletes. ImPACT testing is a computerized neurological assessment tool that is used by our medical team to assist in determining an athlete’s ability to return to play after suffering a concussion. Through a grant from Essentia Health, we would administer tests to all our fall athletes during the first two weeks of practice, and will do the same prior to the start of the winter and spring sports’ seasons.
July 9th – First thing Monday morning our second big initiative gets traction. With the support of Mr. Tony Lockhart, Marshall purchases rSchoolToday Activity Scheduler software designed to improve communication between the athletic department and our fans. Now our Hilltopper fans can go to either the Marshall School website or our conference site (lakesuperiorconference.org), and with only a few clicks know when and where their favorite team will be playing today, tomorrow, this week, or throughout the season. Don’t know where the Cloquet soccer field is? Click on the school’s name, and rSchool will provide a map and driving directions. And when schedule changes occur, our fans can signup up for an instant notification sent to their mobile device or desktop computer. Marshall teachers too can know when to dismiss their students early because we have posted early dismissal times and bus departure times.
July 10th – Tuesday morning coffee with with Susan Brashaw and Deb Couture to layout “A New Way Forward” in support of the Hilltopper athletics program. We couldn’t be more fortunate to have Deb and Susan co-chair the Marshall Athletic Booster Club. We share a common vision and our enthusiasm is infectious.
Looking ahead to the Marshall School Rummage Sale, the Booster Club has scheduled official drop-off days for donations. Please check the athletics pages on Marshall School website for exact days and times.
Parents interested in joining the Booster Club should contact Deb or Susan.
July 12th – Finalists for the head boys’ basketball coach position begin arriving on campus. With the help of our team captains, Adam Kneepkens and Will Heyer, and starter Cole Brashaw, the hiring process goes into overdrive in search of the coach that will be the right fit for Marshall School and the boys’ basketball program.
July 18th – The unbelievably successful Marshall Dance Team is concluding it’s week at the Just For Kicks dance camp in Brainerd. Today they will perform, along with 500 other girls from around the region, in one final competition before the start of the school year. It’s my intent to surprise them, so I drive down under the cover of rain and fog so as not to be spotted. Of course they performed wonderfully, and it was my pleasure to see them at the end of the camp simply to support them.
July 23rd – Noon Monday, Jackie and I walk the Marshall ski and running trail with Mr. D.J. to assess the damage left by the June rainstorm. A plan is devised, and with the help of our facilities staff, student volunteers, Mr. K-J, and some of our former parents, the trail will be revived in time for the start of the cross country running season.
Late Wednesday night, Mr. Nathan Winesett accepts the boy’s basketball coaching position from his family home in Florida. He will lead the Hilltoppers into the 2012-13 season starting November 19th. Coach Winesett earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Zoology from the University of Florida, his Master of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of Arizona, and holds a law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Prior to joining the Hilltoppers, Coach Winesett was an assistant boys’ coach with Lakeview Christian Academy.
July 28th – Saturday afternoon Ms. Allison Strey is named head coach of the Marshall Dance Team. Allison, and her sister Erin, coached the Divas during the 2011-12 season.
July 29th – Sunday night the Marshall girls’ basketball team concluded a very successful summer workout season with their first annual summer alumni game. 22 players participated, and the varsity came from 10 points down in the second half to win by five.
August 6th – One week before the start of fall practice, the 2012-13 Marshall coaching staff meets at Skyline Lanes for bowling, pizza and an opportunity to get to know one another. Afterward, we meet for three hours to discuss the new season and to layout my vision for the program as their new athletic director.
August 10th – Three days before the start of girls’ tennis practice and we’re still without a coach. It’s time to ask a favor of an old friend. Mr. Greg Mirau agrees to take the team on an interim basis. Mr. Mirau connects me with Marshall alum, Willie Paul, and the two of them guide the team through the first couple weeks of practice and competition.
August 13th – Ready or not, fall practices begin.
7:00 P.M. – Our fall sports parent meeting is hastily moved from the Chapel to the gym to accommodate the number of parents arriving. 175 parents from Holy Rosary, Lakeview Christian Academy, and, of course, Marshall School listen as I lay out our vision for the athletics program, introduce our coaching staff and medical team, announce our concussion management protocol, and describe our new athletic scheduling software. Following our large group meeting, parents are invited to attend breakout sessions with our fall sports coaches.
August 19th – Ms. Megan Seipel and Ms. Aly Brandell are named co-head girls’ tennis coaches. They are introduced to the team the next day. Thank you to Mr. Mirau and Willie Paul for stepping up when the Hilltoppers needed them most.
August 25th – Both the girls’ varsity and JV soccer teams win the Zimmerman Thunder “2012 Sand Burr Cup” going undefeated (6-0). GREAT WAY TO START THE SEASON!
August 29th – It’s the first day of school, and for the first time the Bigger, Faster, Stronger program is available for our upper school students during the school year. Headed up by Marshall alum, Ms. Sara Behning, the fitness center is open to all upper school students on Mondays from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Previously, the strength and conditioning program was only available during the summer.
September 9th and 10th – Attend the new athletic director workshop in the Cities. What a great opportunity to learn about the Minnesota State High School League and hear from peers about their schools’ athletic programs.
September 20th – Thursday morning we hosted our first meeting of the Marshall Athletic Booster Club. I was very pleased with the turnout and the great ideas brought to the table. The parents suggested we open the Topper Shop next to the press box during the Homecoming football game. With the help of our facilities staff and our parent volunteers, we made over $1200 in one afternoon of football.
7:30 P.M. – The girls’ tennis team clinches the Lake Superior Conference title on a cold rainy night at the Marshall tennis courts. AWESOME!
September 24th – Host the first Lake Superior Conference AD’s meeting of the year. What a great group to be associated with. Thanks to Dean Korach and his staff, the lunch was great.
September 26th – Attend the MSHSL regional meeting in Chisholm. Of all the good information Jackie and I learned today what stands out is the fact that 50 percent of the transfer cases handled by the MSHSL are the result of bullying in schools. It’s a good reminder for all of us about how we need to treat our peers.
September 27th – Finalized the Marshall School Fan Code-of-Conduct message signed by the co-chairs of the Marshall Athletic Booster Club and myself. It is posted on the athletic pages of the Marshall School website and is printed on our game programs.
October 5, 2012 – What a great opportunity this afternoon for me to meet with our Board of Trustees and report on the state of the program.
- 236 of our 391 (60 percent) 7-12 graders are participating in fall sports.
- Our overall Lake Superior Conference winning percentage stands at .556
- My #1 goal in the first six months is to surround myself with outstanding people. I believe I have done this in hiring Jim Hogan (football) and his staff, Megan Seipel & Aly Brandell (girls’ tennis), Nathan Winesett (boys’ basketball), Allison Strey (Dance Team), Kaylyn Webb (fall Dance Team), and Jackie Flint, Athletic Coordinator.
- The football team is 4-2, the girls’ JV soccer team has won five matches this season, the boys seeded #1 and girls’ soccer team #8 qualified for sectionals, and the girls’ tennis team went undefeated winning the Lake Superior Conference championship.
Congratulations to the Marshall Hilltoppers on a great start to the 2012-13 season!
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your success.
Kevin C. Snyder