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Myers' return to HCC is 'destiny'

July 06, 2006|by BOB PARASILITI

There were a number of factors which made Robert "Bo" Myers right for the Hagerstown Community College athletic director's position.

Familiarity. Energy. Attention to detail. Discipline. Success. Experience as a fundraiser. Experience as a teacher. Experience as a coach. Experience as an administrator.

But there was one main reason why Myers thought the HCC post was right for him.

"It's destiny," he said. "It's like going home. Things like this don't just happen. Jobs like this don't just open up everyday. I wasn't sitting around waiting for the job to open. ... The stars just aligned."

For whatever reasons - be it traditional or cosmic - Myers became the perfect fit to assume the school's top athletic position while doubling as the department chairman for leisure studies. He begins his duties July 17, replacing interim director Jason Weddle. Weddle took the job after Brian Beck resigned in January.

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The goal is to put the entire Hawks athletic program back on the map.

"When I was interviewing, (HCC President Guy Alterri) told me that he wanted the school to have a national program with class," Myers said. "That's become my catch phrase."

It is a whirlwind return to HCC for Myers, who was the school's track and cross country coach and health and physical education chair for nine years before leaving to pursue business opportunities in 1988.

The road brought Myers back to education in 1990, when he joined the Washington County Public Schools in various capacities, including principal at Hancock and North Hagerstown high schools. He will be leaving his position as executive director of secondary school administration to go back to HCC.

"It has been fun working for Washington County schools, but I always wanted to get back into athletics," said Myers, 57. "It has been a lifelong love of mine, and I have some great coaches at HCC to support. We are still going to be emphasizing academics."

Myers represents a change in leadership and dynamics that HCC hopes will help the athletic program regain momentum to return to national prominence. The volleyball and softball teams each advanced to the national tournament while representatives from the running programs also reached the spotlight.

But since Jim Brown stepped down as men's basketball coach and athletic director in 2002, some of the emphasis had been taken off the athletic program. Myers will try to rekindle the past.

"The school can't finance everything," Myers said. "We have to find ways to put money on the side to get these teams to the nationals. We will be getting help from the booster club, but there is going to have to be fundraising."

The face of junior college athletics has changed since Myers first tenure at HCC. A number of schools have de-emphasized or disbanded programs because of the cost. Because of that, some of the costs to run a top-notch program has increased.

"I'll use track for example," Myers said. "When I was coaching, there were 15 (Maryland) JuCo teams. Now there are only three. We have an athlete like Tony Clement, who could be a Division I athlete. We might have to come up with ways to send the team to like the Penn Relays so they can compete.

"We have to look to find ways and places to get, say our volleyball team, to get more and better competition outside of the JuCo to give them a better chance to compete on the national level."

Myers has helped with a number of fundraising efforts around the area, most notably the efforts to build North Hagerstown's Callas Stadium. Along the way, he has reunited with Brown, who was also part of the effort. The pair will be working to bring HCC to the top level.

"Jim is back and will be involved in HCC again," Myers said. "Jim will be involved with the booster club and will be working on the fundraising. It will be great to have him with us. I have been working with him for the last couple of years for the North High stadium and we work well together."

Myers said he will be looking for ways and possibilities for HCC to host national JuCo events. He plans to review where some of the events are held and see what HCC needs to possibly make bids.

Myers' love for sports has kept him active in track as an official and an organizer. His past experiences at HCC and after have helped tailor his interests to fit the athletic director's criteria.

"I have a lot of energy left in me," Myers said. "I hope it allows me to have a bundle of years to stay there and help. This feels good. Once you get older, you need things to keep you motivated. I loved what I did at the board of education, but now I'm going to concentrate on the things that I love - physical education and athletics."

Just like Bo Myers says he was destined to do.

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