Community a top priority for new Marblehead AD Wheeler

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When it comes to Marblehead High’s new athletic director, Kent Wheeler, who replaced Greg Ceglarski last month, it’s not about some “masterplan.”

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m not coming to… change everything. I’m going to manage the program and over the first 60, 90, 100 days, we’ll figure out what can be adjusted.”

Truth be told, Wheeler isn’t new to the sports scene. He’s been an assistant football and baseball coach for nine years at the high school, among other things.

“I’ve been around Marblehead (late 1980s; Ohio and Chicago before then) for a long time – as a coach, an administrator, and whatnot,” he said. “I’ve been involved with Marblehead youth baseball, youth football, fundraising… and, more or less, resurrected the American Legion baseball program.”

And because he was so involved in coaching, some of those closest to him said, “Hey, you should be a teacher.”

“So, I thought, OK, that’s what I’ll do,” said Wheeler, who has taught special education, math, and social studies.

But now, there’s a new ship to sail.

“It was a few weeks back and there was a pretty lengthy interview process that I went through, but they made the decision,” Wheeler said.

When asked what his goals are with the athletics program, Wheeler jumped straight to one word: community.

“It’s really about community. We have great student-athletes and great coaches here,” he said. “I’d like people to say, ‘Hey, Marblehead has a great athletics department.’”

Wheeler also touched upon some core values he deems important.

“Be present, be active, do what you say you’re going to do, be committed,” he said.

And when it comes to those values, they cross over between athletics and academics, according to Wheeler.

“Whether that’s working out and studying plays, or studying your textbook, they go hand-in-hand,” he said. “They teach a lot of the same life lessons.”

And who better to work alongside than former Athletic Director Mark Tarmey, who now serves as the assistant AD.

“They’ve (first few weeks) been overwhelming, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point to Mark Tarmey, who was the athletic director here but, due to some health issues, had to step back,” Wheeler said. “He has systems in place and those run like clockwork. I’m really fortunate to have him. He’s outstanding, and a Superman.”

“Hopefully, between us, the department can find more success,” he added.

As for how student-athletes can find that success, Wheeler hopes they never forget to “have fun.”

“It has to be enjoyable; it has to be fun,” he said. “What we want to do is have fun, while taking part in competitive athletics – and then, learn lessons from those athletics.”

Marblehead is coming off a year in which the boys ice hockey team captured a state championship and softball team reached the Final 4, among other accomplishments in competition.

“One of the things that we’re looking at is, where do we have opportunities to grow?” Wheeler said. “That’s why I’m talking to as many coaches as I can right now. They’re really the lifeblood of the programs and we’ll figure out where those opportunities are.”

  • Joey Barrett is the Daily Item’s sports editor. He reports on local high schools, colleges, and professional teams. Prior to his current position, he worked for UMass Athletics, the Cape Cod Baseball League, and Gannett Media, among others. Barrett was also sports editor at Endicott College and treasurer of Endicott’s Society of Professional Journalists branch.

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