Cisar out as football coach; In as baseball coach at UL
It was a bizarre 12 or so hours for Mark Cisar.
A night after being hired as the new head baseball coach at Union Local, Cisar tendered his resignation to school officials as the head football coach.
During Thursday’s school board meeting, the board approved Cisar to replace Rich Mercer as the Jets’ baseball skipper. It then spent time discussing the football job that Cisar held for seven years.
In those seven years, Cisar guided the Jets to their only two playoff appearances and playoff victory, but the Jets had fallen on hard times the last three years, winning just two of their 30 games.
“I understand where (the board) is coming from,” Cisar said. “You’ve got to win games. Losing stinks, it’s not fun, but I really do feel that high school football and high school sports in general are about much more than wins.”
Cisar realized during the course of his discussion with the board and administration that he woudn’t have the support to return to the sidelines next year.
“I wasn’t going to step down, and I was going to make them force me out,” Cisar said. “But, after talking to my wife and my dad, I realized that it wasn’t the right thing to do to these kids and I came to grips with it Friday morning that it was probably time to move on.”
After informing school officials of his decision, Cisar brought his players together and delivered the news to them as a group.
“It was pretty tough to sit there and try to explain the situation to these kids,” Cisar said fighting back emotion. “I wanted to make sure they realized that I wasn’t quitting on them or walking away. I was resigning because I wasn’t going to be re-hired and the board needs to begin the process of finding a new coach.”
While the Jets had fallen on hard times, Cisar could see progress every day and was actually really looking forward to the future with the program.
“I had never considered stepping down because we weren’t winning,” Cisar said. “I really thought we had done some good things with some young kids. We only had five seniors, so we’re going to have a lot of kids coming back with a lot of experience, who are a year older. These young kids really worked hard. I told the kids to continue to work hard and try to achieve their goals.”
Cisar, who interviewed for the John Marshall job last winter before Rick Goodrich was hired for the post, admits he’s still got a passion to coach football and wouldn’t rule out anything.
“It’s always a possibility that I could be somewhere else (coaching),” Cisar said. “I like Union Local, I like being the Athletic Director and I like being involved with all of the sports. I enjoy seeing the success of the kids and seeing UL do well.”
As for the next coach, Cisar – though he’s still the school’s athletic director – will take himself out of the hiring process for the next coach.
“I can’t do the interviews,” Cisar said. “The old coach can’t interview the candidates to be the new coach. I am sure the school will find someone to come in and do a good job. It’s tough because you’re taking over a program that’s won two games in three years, but at the same time, there are 21 lettermen returning and even though they’re still fairly young, playing experience is big.”
Once the new coach is in place, Cisar forsees no problems in being able to carry out his duties as A.D. and work along side the new head coach.
“I am not going to step on the new guys’ toes, look over his shoulder or second guess him,” Cisar said. “It’ll be the new coach’s program. He’ll be in charge of everything. I will do the things A.D.’s do and help out as much as possible.”
As for the baseball job, Cisar spent the last several years as Mercer’s pitching coach and will now serve as the head coach.
“I am excited about the baseball opportunity,” Cisar said. “Baseball has always been my passion. I enjoy all sports, but I love coaching baseball, playing baseball and watching baseball.”
Cisar’s baseball resume speaks for itself. He was a prep star under his father, Dave, at Magnolia. He went on to star at Charleston Southern University. He played in the farm systems of the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in an independent league team in Quebec.
“Kind of the same situation we’ve got in football, the board decided it wanted to go in a different direction for baseball,” Cisar said. “There are going to be people who say or think that I started this or whatever, but the job was open, I applied and I feel like I will do a great job with the program. Rich did a nice job with the program and did some good things.”
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org