OSWEGO, NY – The Oswego City School District’s new athletic director, Mike Conners, shared his vision for the future of Oswego’s sports.
The new AD, who began his duties in mid-July, said Tuesday that he has been busy meeting parents and students as well as the staff throughout the district.
“There are a lot of positive things happening within the (sports) program. I don’t want to come in and re-invent the wheel. But, obviously, if there is something I can do or we can do better, I would like that to be accomplished,” the new AD said.
He said he’d like to develop a student survey to find out what they like and dislike about the athletic program.
Conners told the board he also wants to meet with administrative team to identify roles and expectations. He plans to meet with other league Ads, the coaching staffs and attend Buc Booster’s meetings.
One thing he’s currently doing is revamping the cross-country course “to make it a more viable place for our events,” he said.
He also addressed the expectations of the coaches from the AD and the coaches’ expectations of him.
“Number one,” he said, “is put your athletes first. They are why we are here.”
Other expectations include being a positive role model, loyalty, honesty and integrity.
He wants to make participation a positive experience for the athletes, he added.
Coaches need to strive for professional growth, he said.
He will help coaches with their jobs, but “let them coach,” he said.
And, if there are any “concerns,” the coach should come to him immediately so they can avoid the “crisis mode,” he added.
As the AD, Conners said he plans on being visible at practices, in the weight room, at games and in the schools.
He said he expects the student-athletes to win with grace and lose with dignity.
He encourages them to support not only their sport but all facets of the sports program.
“There have been some great years and there have been some off years. But the bottom line is we are all Buccaneers and we all strive for the same thing whether it’s cross-country, football, soccer or what have you. We are all working for the same thing – pride in our school, pride in our community,” he explained.
“This is new territory for me and one of the reasons why I took the job,” Conners continued. “I thought I needed something to shake up my life personally; I needed to be challenged. I’m a big believer in if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. And I also believe I can’t fix something if I don’t know what’s broken.”
He said he wants to make his judgments on what he sees, not what he hears.
“Some times, it’s tough for a kid to be a kid now,” he said, adding there are a lot of demands on their time besides sports.
“That’s one thing I really want to look at, so we can work cooperatively so the kids are not slaves to what they are doing year round. I think they need to be kids. Most of the kids in the fall season are giving up at least two weeks of their summer (for practices). The kids are making a huge commitment of their personal time to be a part of our programs,” he said.
Communication is something he is going to work on as an administrator, he said.
“I believe coaches are educators in a different realm. They’re educating on the courts, on the fields, in the pool. They are teaching kids lifelong values that they are going to use when they are parents, workers and husbands and wives,” he said. “I think we do have an important role.”