Ask the AD - Michael Lerner, Hammond High School

This summer, CSZ will be doing a segment on the WICKipedia entitled "Ask the AD". In this feature, we'll be conducting Q&A's with various athletic directors around Maryland to learn more about how different high schools run their athletic programs, and what to expect from them in the future.

Today we're featuring Michael Lerner from Hammond High School in Howard County! Michael spoke with us about a variety of topics, including his keys to running a successful athletics program!


County Sports Zone:How did you become the athletic and activities manager at Hammond? How did your appointment come about?

Michael Lerner:I became the athletic and activities manager at Hammond four years ago when Joe Russo retired. I had to interview for the AAM pool with several county administrators, AAMs, and central office personnel and was fortunate enough to be offered the position by Marcy Leonard, the principal of Hammond. Prior to becoming the AAM, I taught social studies at Hammond and coached the varsity baseball and golf teams.

CSZ:How has the job changed since you started?

ML:Since becoming an AAM, the position has gone through some changes. We are responsible for overseeing clubs and activities in addition to sports. We are also responsible for keeping the building calendar and coordinating all meetings and events that take place in the building after school hours.

There are always other aspects of the job that vary from school to school. For example, some of the jobs I have at Hammond are handling student driving, being involved in fundraising, and being a liaison between the school and our boosters organization.

CSZ:What do you enjoy most about your job?

ML:My favorite part of the job is interacting with our students. I have the greatest job in the world because I get to oversee the fun extra things kids want to be involved with in high school. I still get to teach, but I get to teach life lessons through sports and activities and help students understand extracurricular activities are an extension of the classroom.

I also really enjoying being there to help mentor young coaches. I love teaching and I love coaching. I don't get to teach in a classroom or coach from the sidelines, what I do is definitely more behind the scenes.

CSZ:What're a couple keys to running a successful athletics program?

ML:The biggest keys to running a successful athletic program are communication and making sure all decisions are made with the best interest of the student-athletes in mind. As an AAM, you have to coordinate and communicate with teachers, coaches, student-athletes, parents, the administration and the community. It is very important that the student-athletes know we are all behind them working to help them become successful. It is also important to hire coaches who are truly passionate about what they do.

CSZ:Do you have any favorite teams or moments from your time at Hammond?

ML:I know it's cliche, but I love watching all of the Hammond teams play. Each team has their own personality, but they are all working extremely hard and it is really special to watch both the individuals and teams progress throughout the years.

CSZ:How would you rate this past year for Hammond Athletics? Were there any highlights?

ML:There were a lot of great things at Hammond for our school and our student-athletes last year. We had 14 athletes sign athletic scholarships to Division I or Division II schools. In terms of team success, nearly every team improved their record from the previous year, highlighted by our boys basketball team going 21-3 for the season.

CSZ:How do you view the athletic director's role within the community of a high school?

ML:As an AAM, we are probably the school based administrator that has the most contact with parents and the community. It's important for an AAM to be available to them, listen to their concerns and make sure the community is aware that we truly care about our students and that we are constantly trying to help them become successful in the classroom, on the field, and in life.

CSZ:Is there anything exciting on the horizon for Hammond Athletics?

ML:At Hammond we are constantly trying to upgrade our facilities and provide the best experience for out student-athletes. I am very excited to see the response to our new paint scheme on the gym floor and new electronic marquee that is set to be installed this fall. In terms of our athletes, I am always looking forward to watching them develop. Teams change every year, and there is always excitement at the start of the season- this season is no different.
August 22nd, 2016By: Wick Eisenberg

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