Mequon — To put it simply, new Homestead Activities Director Ryan Mangan believes information is power.
"When I was in school at St. Norbert's (College) one of my goals was to work in athletics," he said. "My education was good in that regard, but I knew I had to get experience if I was to go as far as I wanted to. My idea (upon graduation) was to get as much experience as possible to prepare for as many different situations as possible."
His resume' tells you that immediately.
With a varied background, including corporate sales in minor league baseball, coordination of athletic scholarships and financial aid at a major university (Oklahoma), an active license as a investment counselor, two stints as a high school athletic director (Oregon, Wis., and most recently at Saint Thomas More) and myriad professional improvement courses to his credit, Mangan comes prepared to handle one of the most diverse and successful athletic programs in the state.
"Three things stood out to us (on the selection committee)," said Mequon-Thiensville School District Administrator Demond Means. "One was his ability to communicate with his supervisors, his coaches and his athletes. All of them said he was a master communicator.
"Two, we liked his diversity of experience from his work at a small parochial high school (More) all the way to having to deal with high pressure coaches and rules interpretations at a high-level university (Oklahoma).
"And three, we liked how he put students first," Means said. "We talked to five student/athletes at Oregon and they were all impressed with him. Most people don't normally revere the AD, but they all said 'He was like another coach to us.'
"So, needless to say, we're excited about his ability to take us to the next level."
Mangan will take over for seven-year veteran Charlie Gross, who is now an assistant AD at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Girls golf and track coach John Krueger has been serving as in the post on an interim basis since February and was one of three finalists for the job.
Mangan's first day is July 1.
He will take over the joint position of high school athletic director and recreation department director in a district that has seen enrollment declines in recent years, and as Gross noted in a recent conversation, has seen a budget decline for the high school athletic department of about $100,000 over the last seven years.
The 35-year old Mangan, who played four sports at Kiel High School and is the father of two young children, believes he's energetic enough for the challenge.
"In the education field, you have to be as efficient as possible with the way you use your money," he said. "You also have to be creative in how you raise money. You know you'll have shortfalls, but you find ways to offset those situations.
"You find a way to make do with less and to make good choices."
He'll begin by working to establish good relationships with the Highlanders' veteran and skilled high school coaching staff.
"You build good relationships with the athletes and the administrators and then try to find coaches who are always looking to improve themselves and those around them."
In these uncertain financial times, Means said he thinks he found the right person.
"John (Krueger) has been outstanding," said Means. "Just fantastic, and we really appreciate his efforts, … but there are things Ryan can focus on. We wanted someone with a strong business background like Charlie had. Ryan continues that trend."
"I've worked at a larger high school like this (Oregon) prior to coming here," Mangan said. "And looking at Mequon, I thought that this would be a great place to raise my family and kids. And of course, Homestead's athletic and academic tradition was a huge draw.
"They have high expectations here. I want them, too, and I want to help everyone meet them here."
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