HANNIBAL - Mark Romick has worn a lot of hats during his more than 30 years of working in the River school system.
He's found a new one, however.
During a special Switzerland of Ohio Board of Education meeting held late last week, Romick was hired as the new River High School Athletic Director.
"I realize how much work this entails, but I just enjoy being around sports so much that I think it'll work out well," Romick said. "We have great kids and great people at River and I'm looking forward to remaining involved."
Romick takes over for Tom Tisher, who resigned the position after 14 years at the helm. He's continuing as a teacher at River High School.
"Tom was tremendously organized and did a great job," Romick said. "I'm going to have to learn under fire, but we've got great coaches and we realize it's going to take a united effort to do this."
Romick is taking over at a time when there are multiple hurdles facing athletics in the entire Switzerland of Ohio School District.
The district's levy failed in May, which has forced the implementation of a $200 pay-to-participate fee and caused the elimination of transportation for extra curricular events, including sports.
"It's going to be a chore," Romick said.
"It's going to be a big undertaking, not only from the coaches, but we'll need the parents and the entire community to work together."
The school is working to make sure that students aren't driving themselves to games, but parents' work schedules are an issue.
"The transportation is a major obstacle to overcome," Romick said. "We're kind of leaving it up to each coach and he or she will have a meeting with the parents and talk about different situations. We've had some people express more concern about the transportation than the actual $200 fee."
Size of the squad, distance traveled and time of the games varies by different sports. For instance, the golf team has a handful of events that are contested during the school day, while football plays all of its games on either Friday or Saturday night.
"We're really going to have to sit down and think these things through," Romick said. "There is going to be some decisions made by trial and error, too. Sometimes, we may have to make a decision on the spot, but an entirely new situation arises and we'll have to go in a different direction. There may never be an answer for every situation."
With the levy going down, the athletic budgets have also felt the effect.
"A lot of this year is going to be about needs and wants," Romick said. "As far as the athletic budget goes, if we need it, we'll have to get it. But, wants will have to go onto the backburner for now."
According to Romick, each sport at River has its own booster or parents group that helps with fundraising. He also is trying to bring back the River 200 Club, which has been defunct for several years.
"Running athletic teams and an athletic department is expensive and many people don't realize that," Romick said.
According to Romick, River's facilities are still a work-in-progress. The Pilots will play their four home football games at Flannery Field. They moved their entire home slate across the river to Magnolia last season.
"Our facilities need a lot of things done to them," Romick said. "Our gym is coming around and getting back into shape. We'll have lockerrooms this year. The entire facility is going to be really nice when it gets done."
The target completion date is on schedule for either December or after the students return from the holiday break in January.
Romick, who is a Salem College graduate, fomerly taught at Sardis Elementary. Due to some of the changes, he'll be at Hannibal this year.
Romick is also currently the Pilots' boys basketball and baseball coach. He plans on continuing in both of those capacities this year.
Along with those jobs, Romick also has experience as a football coach, head softball coach and assistant coach in basketball and baseball.
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