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A new type of direction

Three years. That’s how long athletic directors average in their position across the state of Michigan. Long working hours, late game nights and high strung parents don’t always make the position too desirable; Grosse Pointe South High School is no exception.

In the past ten years, South has had three athletic directors come through the school, and has begun the search for its fourth since the resignation of Brandon Wheeler at the start of the 2023-2024 school year. Looking to break the cycle, administration is considering how they can restructure the position to attract new candidates.“We’re currently exploring the possibility with the Board of Education of shifting the position from assistant principal and athletic director to only an athletic director,” South High School Principal Moussa Hamka said.

Hamka said the position as it is now is unsustainable for anyone with a normal life and family outside of their job, likely causing the high turnover rate of athletic directors in past years.“It’s hard to expect an assistant principal to be here at eight in the morning, and then be here till the end of the last game at 10:00 at night,” Hamka said. “You can’t be at work that long without burning out.”

Currently, there’s no official job posting for the athletic director while administration waits for the Board of Education to make an official decision about how the position will look moving forward.“We’re working out what the new job description, the pay (and) responsibilities would be,” Hamka said. “We’re going to put a posting up very soon for just an athletic director. We feel that’s a better fit for our school community and our needs.”

For the past three weeks, boys varsity baseball coach of 41 years and former South High School Health teacher, Dan Griesbaum, has been serving as interim athletic director. This is his third time assuming the position since the year 2000.“I know they were in a bind and needed someone to fill in, and I was happy to do it,” Griesbaum said. “I’ve been involved in the district 45 or so years, and I just wanted to help out in any way I could.”

Griesbaum said that in the past few weeks as athletic director, he’s worked 10 to 12 hour days consistently because of South’s 35 different sports teams.“I think this position should not have to be an assistant principal along with the athletic director, because I think it’s too much,” Griesbaum said. “The athletic director should really be just responsible for overseeing athletics. It’s a big responsibility.”

As a long time coach himself, Griesbaum feels it’s important the candidate that fills the athletic director position full time has a successful past with coaching athletics.“They need to have a thorough background in athletics,” Griesbaum said. “It helps you understand what coaches want, what players want and what parents want in terms of their sons and daughters participating in athletics.”

Wyatt Hepner ’25 plays for the South varsity football team, as well as the wrestling team. In his past two years as a South athlete, he’s interacted personally with the athletic director only a couple of times.“None of them were for anything related to sports, it was just saying hi or talking,” Hepner said. “I know they do a lot, though, and it’s very important.”

With two more years left playing sports at South, Hepner is hoping the right athletic director candidate fills the job.“I think an athletic director should be able to make big decisions and be a good person,” Hepner said.

Administration is hoping to get the job posting up as soon as it’s approved, so the full search can begin for South’s new long-term athletic director.“Number one, I want someone who has an unwavering commitment to our students,” Hamka said. “They need to be all about our students: support them, grow our programs and with the focus on athletics.”

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Charlotte Glasser '25, Supervising Page Editor
When she’s not baking or watching Gilmore Girls, second year staffer and Supervising Copy Editor Charlotte Glasser ’25 is behind the computer making The Tower newspaper come alive. Glasser takes French through University of Detroit Mercy, her goal is to become fluent; she was inspired this year after her trip to France in July, this past summer.“I think that French is such a beautiful language and I have always wanted to be bilingual,” Glasser said. Both of Glasser’s siblings have been on The Tower in years prior—her sister enjoyed it so much that Glasser decided to follow in her footsteps. She said that one of the reasons she loves Tower is that journalism is its style of writing.“If essay writing or creative writing isn’t your thing, maybe this is and I love how Tower has something for everyone,” said Glasser.

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