Rich Weber, a soccer coach at Matanzas High School for the past five years who’s had numerous other connections to Flagler County athletics was named athletic director at Matanzas this week, high school Assistant Principal Ken Seybold said.
Weber was one of some 75 applicants for the $44,757 position, which oversees 36 athletic teams, 22 of them at the varsity level, monitors compliance with Florida High School Athletic Association regulations, students’ academic standing, physicals, the financial statements of all teams, and coordinates fundraising and transportation. The director is also responsible for attending athletic conferences and district meetings. Weber’s equivalent at Flagler Palm Coast High School is long-time Director Steve DeAugustino.
Weber stood out among the long list of applicants—which included numerous internal and external applicants—Seybold said, because of his mixture of vision for athletic programs and his experience, which goes well beyond athletics: Weber spent a long part of his career in information technology, especially after 2001, when he was involved in the fiber optic networking of New York City’s five boroughs, overseeing a contract with the Metropolitan Transit Authority that led to the installation of 700 massive networking “cabinets” throughout the city’s subway system. Before that Weber had started his career as an Army captain, in communications, ending up at the Florida National Guards headquarters before going into the private sector during the dot-com boom of the 1990s.
That sort of work gave Weber technical, manufacturing and financial experience that helped him stand out. “I think for me, it’s a blend of the experience I have over the years, I’ve been v involved coaching at the high school for the last five years,” but also coaching, consulting and fund-raising before that, making it all a “good fit” at Matanzas.
Locally, he’d been involved in several athletic endeavors, among them the Players Development Academy, which led him to think about a career move in the direction he just landed. (He’s also an avid soccer fan, with his particular reverence for Barcelona, the more respectable of Spain’s top La Liga teams).
Weber says he intends to ramp up athletics at the school, which involve some 500 students, while maintaining academics at the heart of student achievement. One of his goals: to create a student advisory council of sorts that would help contribute ideas to Matanzas athletics while achieving another Weber goal. He wants students to “take ownership” of their athletics “to own and support all the programs,” he says.
Asked if he saw any glaring needs in any of the department’s various divisions, Weber said he didn’t just yet, “but give me another few weeks.”
Weber takes up where Bob Nocella—the former director of Flagler Technical Institute—left off, after two years as athletic director. Nocella took an administrative position at Wadsworth Elementary. Before Nocella, Seybold himself had been athletic director for eight years.
“There’s another culture, another whole life that starts here for our students, whether they’re involved in band or the thespian program or whether they’re involved in athletics,” Seybold said of the post-2 p.m. world at the school. “You really get to know the kids on a different level as an athletic director. From that standpoint, it’s extremely rewarding.”