Homer High School’s mathematics teacher has added one more role to his advanced algebra and algebra readiness classes. Mark Casseri has become the school’s athletic director.
“I have about 30 years of coaching experience at the high school and college level,” said Casseri, who has been at Homer High since the 2005-2006 school year.
That coaching has been in football, softball, track and field, but mostly basketball.
While that experience gives him insights into those sports, Casseri is discovering being the school’s athletic director is about that and then some. There are schedules to be aware of, transportation needs to take into consideration, students’ needs and more.
“There’s a lot of information that has to get through and brought in,” he said. “A lot of the time I sit down with other individuals, help them with their sports. Not that I can help (with the sport), but maybe with the organization.”
Currently, students at Homer High are involved in swimming and diving for both girls and boys, volleyball for girls, cross country for girls and boys, football “which is primarily a boy’s sort, but girls are welcome to go out for that,” said Casseri. “And cheering, also a boy-girl sport, mostly girls, but boys are welcome, as well.”
Casseri also keeps track of the state meets and championships on the calendar. For instance, cross country’s state meet and the football state championship are in October. Volleyball’s state championship, as well as the final meet for swimming-diving, is in November.
As the season for some sports comes to an end, others are gearing up.
“Wrestling starts at the end of September, so they’re getting ready to kick off with that,” said Casseri. “Hockey and cross-country skiing start in late October and early November, so we have youngsters trying to get into the weight room, trying to get into the pool to cross-train and get stronger for their individual sport.”
Then there are the spring sports, like soccer, but that’s still a few months away.
Over the course of a school year, Casseri estimated 60 percent of the school’s population are involved in sports. There are currently about 400 students enrolled at Homer High.
“Most of our kids are multi-sport athletes, so they go from one activity to another,” said Casseri. “We have several young people, one in particular, that is playing football and then goes directly into wrestling and from wresting into basketball, and then he’ll jump into soccer. We actually have several individuals like that in our building. They’re becoming great athletes.”
To do that, however, students have to keep their grades up.
“What I’ve found over my tenure of coaching is that when a kid stays actively involved all year long, his or her grades seem to do better,” said Casseri. “It’s the ones that have free time that are the ones that seem to constantly get in trouble.”
Currently, the school is looking for a hockey coach and a girls junior varsity basketball coach.
Even with his new duties, Casseri said he is “pretty excited for the up and coming school year.” He hopes the community will be, too.
“I want to thank all the fans and encourage them to come out and support the Mariners,” he said. “We have a great group of kids in this building. They go out, put their hearts out every day and practice. They love to have fans support them.”
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.