Mark Fenik has worn many different hats during his career in education.
At one point or another, he’s been a teacher, football coach and administrator.
His most recent position has been that of director of operations for the Jonathan Alder school district.
Those duties include supervising transportation, food services and custodial staff.
Another title has been bestowed upon him – that of interim athletic director.
The Alder AD position came open during the spring when Tom Vargo announced his retirement.
Spring sports at Jonathan Alder were canceled due to the coronavirus.
Fall sports are currently up in the air as well.
Fenik said with all the uncertainty about fall sports, district officials decided to go the route of an interim athletic director for the foreseeable future.
“Our administration didn’t want to bring in someone new and then not have anything for that person to do if fall sports are canceled,” he said. “They just felt it would be better to go the interim route at this time.
“I’m not sure how things will go forward since we’re all going week-by-week.
“State funding has been reduced to school districts due to coronavirus and we were going to have to cut an administrator’s salary,” he said. “Since Tom was retiring, we didn’t have to cut a position.”
Fenik will formally begin his AD duties on Saturday (Aug. 1) when fall sports teams are scheduled to begin preseason practices.
He will serve as interim athletic director until state funding is returned to the district and/or until COVID-19 is no longer a threat.
Fenik, who formerly served as assistant principal at Jonathan Alder High School, said he doesn’t want the athletic director job on a permanent basis.
“No, I’m happy with what I’m doing as director of operations,” he said.
The interim label is completely on a volunteer basis, as Fenik is not receiving any additional stipend on top of his salary as director of operations.
“I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the district,” said Fenik. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to find some people to step up and help cover athletic events, if we have sports this fall.”
Both jobs could keep Fenik pretty busy once the school year begins.
He’s not, however, a stranger to hard work, long hours and a variety of positions.
Prior to his arrival at Jonathan Alder, Fenik was a middle school principal in the Bloom Carroll School District.
He also served as head football coach at Minford, Gallia Academy and Fort Recovery high schools.
Fenik was also an assistant football coach at Ferris State (Michigan), the University of Chicago and Northwood University (Michigan).
Sports workouts began earlier this summer for schools across the state.
Fenik said Pioneer coaches have done a good job of working with their respective teams in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“So far, it’s gone very smoothly,” he said. “All of our coaches have great respect for our student-athletes and the situation we’re in.
“They’re all preparing for a 2020 season, but we’re just taking it day-to-day.”
Fenik attended a meeting of athletic directors for Central Buckeye Conference schools earlier this week.
“The gist of the meeting is that we are waiting to see what happens in the next few days and weeks,” he said. “We discussed options for fall sports, but there wasn’t anything definite decided.
“We’ll just waiting for guidance from the top on down.”
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