Monday, Oct 22, 2018
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Adrian Public Schools adopts long-term 'game plan' for district athletics


Adrian High School

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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Adrian Public Schools solidified long-term goals to help guide improvements to its athletic programs in kindergarten through high school. 

An athletics advisory committee — comprised of coaches, students, parents, community members, and administrators — began work in October to address gaps in youth athletics. The committee’s final document, dubbed the “game plan,” focuses on five key areas for improvement: student-athlete development, K-12 athletic programming, conference membership, professional staff, and quality facilities. 

“We’re trying to really identify where we as a school system could work with community groups or create our own programs so that [we] would have a full plate of offerings for our students,” said John Roberts, who is in his eighth year as the district’s athletic director.

Adrian High School offers 24 varsity-level sports and enrolls more than 800 students, Mr. Roberts said, and he wants to see offerings grow for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

He said the committee is working with the city, YMCA, and other organizations to create new recreation leagues.

“One of the things we’re very hopeful will happen this summer is the return of Little League baseball and softball to Adrian,” he said.

Adrian High School’s football field and swimming pool both were recently renovated, and the committee’s plan calls for a periodic review of other athletic facilities.

“We want to have facilities that are competitive with people in our county or people in our conference,” Mr. Roberts said.

The committee also is open to the idea of changing athletic conferences or forming a new one. The group isn’t unhappy with their current Southeastern Conference, Mr. Roberts said, but they’re the third-smallest school in the 14-school conference and they’d like to compete more often with schools closer in size.

“We want to be in a league where we have a chance to be competitive,” he said.

Mr. Roberts, who has been with the district for 30 years, said he is pleased with the direction “game plan” leads. There’s been a lot of coaching staff turnover in the past five years, but he sees that trend stabilizing.

“Whoever comes after me as the next athletic director will kind of have a road map of where the department has been and where it’s wanting to go,” he said.

Contact Sarah Elms at selms@theblade.com419-724-6103, or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

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