Otsego mom sports new title: athletic director PDF Print E-mail
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 15 June 2013 08:07
Joyce Harnishfeger, new athletic director at Otsego High School. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
TONTOGANY - Joyce Harnishfeger knows she is in small company as a soon-to-be female high school athletic director.
But the mother of four isn't shying away from the opportunity to serve as Otsego's next athletic director, effective July 1.
"I think we are starting to be on the rise a little bit," said Harnishfeger, a 1992 Otsego graduate and Tontogany resident.
According to an article published in January in the Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, little data exists on how many women are in power positions at the interscholastic level.
The article cited three studies, which calculated the percentage of women in leadership positions at the interscholastic level between 10 and 15 percent.
In Wood County, Harnishfeger is joined by Michele Story at Elmwood and Mary Brewer at Lakota as fellow female athletic directors. Story has been a mentor to her.
Harnishfeger, who ran track and cross country in high school, was a stay-at-home mom until 2009 when she took a job as an athletic department secretary at Otsego.
"I immediately fell in love with athletics," she said.
As the mother of four boys, Harnishfeger said it is possible to juggle being a mom and an administrator.
"It's working so far. There are challenges sometimes," she said. "They like coming to the events, too, so that helps."
While she doesn't officially become athletic director until July 1, Harnishfeger has already assumed the duties.
"It's a good fit. I love coming to all of the events. I enjoy working with the student-athletes and getting to know the kids and interacting with the parents," she said.
Two of her biggest goals are increasing opportunities for the athletes and building an even stronger community around Otsego athletics.
A chicken barbecue is already slated for the Knights first home football game against Bowling Green.
On a longer-term plan, she wants to improve Otsego's outdoor facilities in order to be able to host additional post-season tournaments.
"I think our program is in a good position. We have a great coaching staff," she said.
"I am blessed with coaches who really put in the extra effort and time. It's a year-round job," she said.
This year, Otsego finished fourth in the overall Northern Buckeye Conference league standings. The girls golf, boy basketball and baseball teams all were crowned league champions.
Boys golf, which had been offline for the last couple of years, will return next school year. Harnishfeger said more than 20 boys expressed interest in participating.
"I hope to keep the ball rolling and to build on these strong programs," she said.

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