By Kyle LoJacono
Mike Rogers is a novice athletic director, but he is overflowing with years of experience from coaching and playing sports in Pasco County.
Rogers, 37, was hired as Wesley Chapel High’s athletic director (AD) on May 23, the first time he has served as an AD in high school.
“I’m excited to take on this position,” Rogers said. “I’m hoping to work closely with the coaches and student-athletes to develop a quality athletic program.”
The decision to apply for the position was an easy one for Rogers.
“I’ve always had a passion for athletics and grew up playing sports,” Rogers said. “I enjoy working with students and I’m looking to bring a new level of excitement to Wildcats athletics.”
Rogers did not have any immediate changes in mind for the department, but is instead working to build connections to help him guide all the programs in the future.
“I want to develop relationships with the coaches and students to bring everyone together,” Rogers said. “I want to get everyone at the school and in the community excited about our athletics. I’m new at this, so I’m also working to find what my role and responsibilities should be so that I don’t do too much or too little. I need to find the right balance to let the coaches coach.”
It is that attitude and desire to work with coaches and students that set Rogers apart from the other applicants, according to Wesley Chapel principal Carin Nettles.
“Mike was chosen for his ability to connect with students, parents, coaches, administration and the community,” Nettles said. “He is thorough in his approach, fair, honest and his attention to detail is second to none. Mike has coached multiple sports during his tenure as a teacher, and is a strong leader here at Wesley Chapel High School.”
Rogers grew up in Holiday and played baseball and soccer while attending Gulf High. He worked at Mitchell for six years as an instructional assistant before coming to Wesley Chapel two years ago.
Rogers works in the student support assistance program (SSAP), which helps kids stay in school and succeed. He has been the Wildcats junior varsity girls soccer coach the last two years and was the boys cross country leader in 2010. He is unsure if he will remain at the helm of those programs next year.
The new AD replaces Steve Mumaw, who served at the post the last six years. Mumaw resigned the position in May citing a desire to spend more time with his family.
“It just takes up too much of my time and it took away from my family life,” Mumaw said. “I loved working with the kids, but it’s time for someone else to step in.”
Mumaw will remain as an electives teacher and said he hopes to remain as the pitching coach for the baseball team.
As for his replacement, Rogers said he would like to fast-forward several months and years to see what the department becomes.
“I’m focused on building up all the programs in the present so we can be excited in the future,” Rogers said. “I’m hopeful of what’s to come.”