By Ryan Kaczmarski
Moving from the sidelines as a coach, to the “front office” position of athletic director, can be a difficult transition. In North Olmsted Mike Ptacek has had a month on the job, and has taken each new challenge in stride.
“It’s been an adjustment,” Ptacek said. “It has been a change, but a pleasant change.
“I grew up in (the North Olmsted schools),” he added. “I graduated from North Olmsted High School in 1988, and my parents still live in North Olmsted. I’ve been around for so many years, and I’ve been teaching in the district since 1992. It’s a change for me job-wise, but I have the advantage of being here so long and knowing everyone within the (school) district. It has been, probably, an easier adjustment for me, than for someone from outside the district.”
The retirement of North Olmsted athletic director Tim Carras came as a surprise to some, as Ptacek was starting to work on the upcoming football season.
“It is obviously very difficult to leave my teaching and my football roles, but these jobs only come around – at least for me – only once a career,” He said. “It was the only position in the district that I would have gone up to. I was very fortunate the position became open and, through the interview process, I was selected.”
With Ptacek moving up to the A.D. position, it created head coaching vacancies in the football, girls cross country and boys track programs, as well as a need for a new boys basketball head coach. Tim Brediger, a former assistant to Ptacek, was hired as the new head football coach.
“I had a number of roles to fill,” Ptacek explained. “We brought in a number of applicants for each position … and we were just looking for the best fit, and the best person. We are very happy that Tim Brediger was that person for the football job; not only the fact that he works in the district, but that he has worked so very hard for the job. He’s been ready for it, and I know he’ll do an outstanding job.”
The boys track position will be filled in the future, but the girls cross country and the boys basketball positions have been filled, the latter by former North Olmsted assistant coach, and most recently Bay High School head coach, Jason Frolo.
“We’re also very happy to have Jason (back),” Ptacek said. “He inquired about the position and went through the interview process. Then myself, and the basketball committee that we set up, felt like he was the strongest candidate that came through, and we’re very happy he accepted the position. He lives in the community and is the best basketball coach that we could have asked for.”
One of the toughest adjustments for Ptacek is giving up control of the day-to-day operations of the football program.
“I think the role I’m in now is to add any kind of help the coaches need,” he said. “Before, as a head coach, I just wanted to make sure that the assistant coaches were doing their job and being great to the kids, and now as the A.D., I’m coaching the (head) coaches. For me, with the football team, I’m very excited. I felt we had a very nice season last year (7-3), and we have a great core coming back. As difficult as it was to leave the head football job, I felt (the team) was left in good hands and is going in the right direction.”