‘An Ideal Spot’Published 9:24am Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Gary Mattes took over as Northview High School’s Athletic Director at the start of this school year, but he was a familiar face to many of the students and staff. That’s because he was already in the Administration at the school, where he served as Administrative Dean. According to Mattes, that was three years ago and things just fell into place for him to take on his new role.
“I was looking to get into administration, so that was the route I took and Ms. Weaver hired me,” Mattes said. “Prior to that, I’ve coached for 14 years, so it was just kind of weird. I missed athletics. I obviously didn’t plan on the AD opening up, didn’t even know when I got here it would open up as soon as it did. It was just kind of a lucky draw. Ms. Weaver graciously gave me the opportunity to take it on. I love sports—that’s the biggest thing. I love being around kids, I love being around sports, so it’s an ideal spot.”
Mattes has had the opportunity to return to the familiar and will have the opportunity to explore the unfamiliar. He has 14 years of prior experience coaching soccer, and while Northview doesn’t field a soccer team, he’s returned to coaching golf, something he’s also previously coached. In addition to soccer and golf, Mattes has coached tennis.
His father coached football, golf, and softball. The sports family also included his sister playing soccer and volleyball and his mother played volleyball and lacrosse at one point.
He has the most experience coaching soccer, but will try his hand this spring with softball. He already finished coaching both the boys and girls golf team at Northview.
Amy Holland will take over the head coaching duties for the softball team and Mattes will be her assistant and coach the JV team.
While the golf season was short, it was intense because he was coaching both the girls and boys teams.
“It’s a short season and it usually is,” Mattes said. “Right when school came in was when we had some meetings and it’s basically a ten-week season. I think the kids had fun. I took on both boys and girls, so it was kind of time-consuming. I’ve already somewhat mentioned maybe just stepping down and doing boys alone next year, so I can really concentrate on one and let someone else take over the girls. It was hard to get matches in with both teams and have a practice, so I was always taking away from someone else. So, I’d like to just concentrate on one.”
People in this region are crazy about football, so some are surprised Mattes is Athletic Director but not the football coach. Mattes said he simply hasn’t coached football before and feels the coaching staff does so well that they don’t need his help anyway.
“It’s strange, the first year I got up here coach Wise had worked with my father prior at Washington High School and my first year he asked me, he was like ‘Help us coach. I know you’ve got to have some football in you.’ I’ve never coached football,” Mattes said. “It’s just something I never played. I always did soccer, tennis, baseball, I swam. I played basketball. I never put on a football helmet. It’s just something that I enjoy watching, I know what’s going on, and I probably could learn, but it’s just something I’ve never coached. I go out and help with Kevin Vaughan kicking right now just from my soccer background, but if you line up in a defense and say ‘What are they doing?’ I’d have no idea. It’s just how I am, but I can tell you the positions. When they say base cover three, I don’t know what they’re talking about. I love it and I’ll support it. I’ll go to every game and I’ll support them. I would help in any way I could.”
Mattes said his job involves a lot of paper work, scheduling and keeping things organized, but all things considered, he loves his job.
“People are like ‘How do you drive an hour to work?’ I’m like ‘Once you do it, you won’t leave,’” Mattes said. “I’m telling you—the community up here is great, the staff is great, the administration has been great, coaches. You’re always going to have a problem with something, but everyone moves on, they forget about it, you’re friends. Dealing with 560 kids, as opposed to 2000 is fun. It’s actually fun. So, coming here every day is rewarding.”