A question and answer with Whitman-Hanson Regional High athletic director Bob Rodgers.
This year marks Bob Rodgers’ eighth as the athletic director at Whitman-Hanson Regional High.
Last year was an exhilarating one as multiple school records were shattered, a state title was brought home on the mat and seven teams earned postseason berths.
Rodgers chatted with the Express about his position, improvements in athletics, what he’s looking forward to in 2018-19, and more.
Q: How have you seen your position as an AD change?
A: “Well, the biggest change for me has been just the increasing amount of sports that we now offer. We’re now up to 27 sports and we have a lot more opportunities for girls at Whitman-Hanson with the addition of field hockey, gymnastics and swimming. With the additional teams, managing more people, more kids and families, so I guess that’s been the biggest challenge.”
Q: What’s your favorite part about being an AD?
A: “Just being able to have a positive impact on the school experience of so many kids and recognizing the important personal growth that kids go through when they have an opportunity to be part of a team and compete. I recognize that what happens in the classroom is the main reason why kids go to school, but I do think that having that extra experience of being part of a team, dealing with adversity, understanding work ethic, it all kind of goes hand in hand for kids. And, so being an AD, it allows me to have a direct impact on so many students and a part of the education process that is, I think, so vital to a young person’s growth; the ability to play on a team, the ability to challenge themselves to recover from adversity, to feel a connection to something. I take great pride in the athletic program that we have at our school because I think it touches all those bases.”
Q: For those who don’t know, what goes into the role of an AD?
A: “The role of an athletic director is if you were to look at the job description, it would be several pages long. You are a personnel person in terms of hiring coaches. You’re a budget person because you have to deal with the financial aspect of running the program. Secretarial stuff because you have to deal with schedules and paperwork through the MIAA. You have to be a lawyer because you have to know all the rules and regulations. You have to be a psychologist because you have to deal with a lot of different personalities and you have to be a mentor, somebody who can help your coaches grow as coaches so they can serve our students. Then, it’s really everything else that comes in between. There’s a lot of public relations to it to make sure people understand what’s going on and understand the value of what we’re doing. Fundraising. It’s just a job that keeps me busy.
“When I decided to pursue this eight years ago, I realized that I didn’t know back then really what I was getting into, but it’s been rewarding and I’ve enjoyed it even though it takes a tremendous amount of time. You’re basically on the clock 24/7. There’s just always something going on.”
Q: When you look back on last year, what moment(s) stick out?
A: “Well, there were so many great moments. I think that watching our boys’ soccer team that had struggled the previous couple of years make the tournament and then win an exciting game in overtime, that first-round game that they had. To watch the great performances that the gymnastics team had. But really each sport, I could probably pick something out from each sport. Although we all love to win, [it] isn’t really the end all and be all of the athletic experience.”
Q: Have there been any improvements in athletics for this upcoming year?
A: “Well, the big project that we completed a year ago was the replacement of the turf field and that was the biggest, most expensive and challenging. We’re right now in the process of adding a state-of-the-art scoreboard to our athletic field which has been a big challenge. It’s very expensive, but it’s really going to make a big improvement to our school. We added scoreboards to both the baseball and softball field, which I think fans are going to really appreciate.”
Q: Are there any teams at W-H that you have your eye on to make a deep postseason run or perhaps surprise some people?
A: “I don’t want to put too much pressure on them, but we’re all really excited about the football team because they’ve worked so hard. It’s really a very experienced group. I think we have over 20 seniors on the roster. We have a phenomenal quarterback and he’s a great leader. You watched the progression that it’s made over the last few years, I think that they’re poised to really do some damage.
“It’s going to be a challenge because we have a very tough schedule; we purposely did a tough schedule. The non-league schedule’s hard, we’re playing Marshfield and New Bedford to start the season — two big schools — much bigger than us. Then our league schedule is tough with both Hingham and Duxbury, but I really think we’re going to see big things from them.”
Q: Are there any dates that fans of W-H athletics should mark down on their calendars for any reason?
A: “ I think that football opener (Sept. 7) is one that’s going to be really exciting to kind of kick off the season and get everyone really excited. We’re home against Marshfield. All the schedules are available online and I’d encourage fans of Panther Nation to go out and go to all the different sporting events that we have.”
Q: What are you hoping to see as the year gets underway?
A: “I’m looking forward to watching them savor every moment because it goes by so fast, especially for those seniors going into their final year of high school, to get everything out of the experience that they can. I’m hoping that the whole experience will help them grow as people, help keep them stay healthy and happy and helps build our school spirit and our community spirit.”