MIDDLEBURY — Four years ago, Brad Frank and his wife, Michelle, moved from Ohio to Elkhart because Michelle had taken a job as the theater director for the Lerner Theater. This left Brad, who was a sports journalist at the time, looking for a new job.
Frank knew he wanted to work in a high school’s athletic department someday and saw there was an opening to be the athletic secretary at Northridge High School. He applied, and Northridge Athletic Director Dave Harms hired him.
The move has paid dividends for Northridge, as Frank has now become the Assistant Athletic Director at the school.
“In those couple jobs covering high school sports, you’re obviously familiar with the seasons, the sports and what the coaches and athletes are going through,” Frank said. “I think the biggest transition for me was coming from a small, private school and then working at what, to me, is a large, public high school; that was going to be a different environment for me.”
Frank was promoted to assistant AD because the school expanded its athletic department office. Replacing Frank as the secretary was Samantha Hartzell. The move came last April, giving Northridge a three-person athletics office for the past year.
Although Frank was promoted, most of his duties haven’t changed.
“It’s just now we’ve got three people to take care of everything that needs to be taken care of instead of two,” Frank said. “We’re able to fulfill those duties more thoroughly and with more thought and planning behind them.”
Along with covering sports in Ohio, Frank played them in high school. He participated in football, basketball and baseball, giving him an athlete’s perspective that hadn’t existed with some of Northridge’s past secretaries.
“One thing Brad had was he gave me someone that had played and had the knowledge,” Harms said. “Now I could bounce some things off of him, athletically, and he stepped to the forefront on that part.”
Harms also hired Frank because of his youth — even if Harms doesn’t think of himself as “old” yet.
“I knew he knew some things that I didn’t know, as far as the technology part of it,” Harms said. “I’m not saying I’m old, but the new stuff, as far as Twitter and Facebook, I knew that Brad knew it. He is, in no better ways to say it, a ‘Google geek.’ He has that down pretty well, and those are things that I knew were heading in that direction.”
Frank has adjusted well to working in an athletic department’s office. He’s enjoyed being able to work with the various players, coaches and parents for the past four years.
“You’ve got a wide range of groups that all factor into operating a high school athletic department, and some of those groups overlap as far as things that they need and things that need to happen for them to make high school athletics happen,” Frank said. “It’s just a lot of communication, planning and coordinating between all of those groups to ultimately do what we do: accommodate our sports teams and allow them to have their competitions.”
As far as his future is concerned, there’s a possibility Frank could become an AD down the line. Harms thinks he’ll be a great fit as an AD someday — just as long as Frank is not replacing him.
“The thing I like about it is, having been a head coach and coached on the college level, you’re always looking for that person that sometimes knows a little bit more than you do at certain things, and you want to make sure you can keep them around so that way you can grow as a person as well,” Harms said. “You always want somebody that’s striving to be better or be an athletic director … I see that in Brad. He would make a very good AD someday — just not where I’m at, or just not right now.”
Frank also won’t rule out being the head man of an athletic department someday.
“I think that is a strong possibility,” Frank said. “I’m not going to say it’s a certainty, but I would say right now it’s a strong possibility. I enjoy the work. There’s a bunch of different types of groups that have to coordinate to run a high school’s athletic department, and I do appreciate the variety that comes with that and getting to meet new and different people on a regular basis.”