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Athletics on her shoulders

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First year Noblesville High School athletic director, Leah Wooldridge

First year Noblesville High School athletic director, Leah Wooldridge

Photo by Kennedy Pastore

Photo by Kennedy Pastore

First year Noblesville High School athletic director, Leah Wooldridge

Kennedy Pastore, Staff writer

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How did you acquire the job as Athletic Director at Noblesville?

As a person there’s a lot to think about– whether you’re making the best move for your family. Also, the emotions that go with leaving a position that you’ve held, or being in a school corporation for a lengthy amount of time. So those emotions and determining what is the best career move for yourself. And so it wasn’t really a long process, but it seems like a long process when you are consumed by trying to figure out really what you want to do.

What position did you leave for this one?

For the past 10 years, I was at Franklin Community High School where I served 8 of those years as an assistant principal and the last two years as principal.

What caused you to transfer over to athletics?

Athletics has always been a big part of my background. I’m a former 3 sport athlete in high school. I played college basketball at the University of Michigan. Having played, coached, and been an athletic director previously, athletics has just always been in my blood, if you will. I just kind of felt like being an athletic director again was taking me back to my roots.

What do you do on a daily basis as athletic director?

You’re always trying to be two or three steps ahead and be proactive rather than reactive. Obviously there are some things that are going to come up that you have to react to, but just trying to plan ahead. And also trying to do things that are education based athletics. Meet with coaches, meet with other athletic directors around the country, and around the state.

Do you have a connection to Noblesville?

I live in Noblesville, I’ve lived here the last 14 years and I actually served as a teacher and a [girls basketball] coach here previously, about 13 years ago.

Do you feel a certain pressure having taken the role as head of a predominately
male industry?

No, I don’t feel any pressure. In any position you’re in, whether you’re male or female, it’s about building relationships, it’s about being consistent, it’s about communication. The biggest part about communication that sometimes people forget is listening and listening to what people need, how can you help them do their job better. So I don’t think I feel any pressure being female in this position at all. I don’t feel like I’m left out of anything because I’m female, I think it again all goes back to building trust with relationships and gaining respect from your peers, and you do that by your job performance.

Why do you think the pay for women and men in pro basketball is significantly different?

Right now they [women’s basketball] have a shorter season. They only play the months of July and August. So they’re only playing a few months compared to the men, who have a six to seven month season. Obviously a lot of the men get a lot of the big sponsorships like Nike and Adidas, and women have those opportunities as well. So I think it’s going to take some time, just like everything else does.

What are your goals for athletics at NHS this year?

Plan to continue to promote education based athletics. The big thing on that is sportsmanship, teaching our players how to win gracefully and also when you lose it’s not the end of the world. The sun will come up tomorrow. You have to just keep practicing, keep fighting, but during that time that you’re in competition that there are right ways to do things and wrong way to do things. I think for coaches and the athletic department as a whole, developing a mission and vision that everybody understands when we say this is the miller way, everybody understands this is what we’re about and this is the direction that we’re headed.

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The online home of the Mill Stream, Shadow and NHS News - Noblesville High School
Athletics on her shoulders