After a decade on the job, Seneca High School Athletic Director Scott Greenwald is still buzzing. Whether evaluating coaches, interacting with athletes, maintaining facilities or raising funds, Greenwald is always on the move, leading a program with nearly 400 student athletes and 20 varsity sports.
Greenwald, 47, has been involved in high school athletics in Louisville for more than 30 years as a player, coach and administrator. Now, after a state-mandated staffing overhaul at Seneca earlier this year, he faces his greatest challenge in restoring athletic glory to a school community struggling to regain its footing.
Greenwald recently took some time out to reflect on the challenges and rewards of his work.
What is your background in sports?
I’ve been around sports my entire life and I just fell into making a living at it, which is pretty cool. In high school (Western) I played baseball, ran track and wrestled. I’ve coached a little bit of everything, but mostly volleyball. After graduating from U of L in ’86, I started out as an assistant volleyball coach at Bellarmine before stints at Western, Moore and Southern. I coached 11 years before taking an assistant AD job.
What are your responsibilities as athletic director?
I’m responsible for everything that you can imagine having to do with an athletic program: administration, supervision, evaluation, event planning, etc. Just in the fall there are around 225 events that I am responsible for, whether it be scheduling, arranging transportation or getting officials.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Dealing with the kids is the best part, by far. I enjoy watching them progress. That’s the fun part of my job. In this position I have much more positive interactions with kids than negative.
Does your background in coaching inform your decision-making as an AD?
It helps to a degree, but it’s mostly on the job training. I’m a much better athletic director now than I was 15 years ago.
What do you look for when hiring a coach?
I don’t care about style as much as I care about them turning out productive adults. I’m like everybody else – I love to win, but that’s not the focus at this level. I tell our parents every year before our season starts that I can’t promise them a state championship or that their kids are going to be All-State.
What I do promise is 1: If their kids stay with the program they will be better players when they leave and 2: They will be better people as well.
That’s what I want out of my coaches. I want them turning out better people. I try to run the athletic department with this philosophy.
Do you have any facilities projects in the works?
There’s always stuff on the wish list and now we’ve got an alumni association that’s getting off the ground. Hopefully we will raise some significant money and that’ll allow us to do some things. A Sports Turf field outside and a decent track are the two things I’d like to see first.
What do you do in your spare time?
I spend as much time as I can with my family. My wife Beth and I have two sons—Brandon, 8, and Trevor, 10.
What teams are excelling at Seneca right now?
Wrestling has always been strong. Last year we qualified 12 kids for State. Boys’ soccer has won the district a couple of years in a row. Our boys’ basketball team won the regular season district this year.
If you could change one thing about high school sports what would it be?
I’d get all of the AAU people away from it. They hurt us. I think you would find that sentiment among a lot of the ADs. As athletic directors in high schools we’ve got an idea of what our coaches are doing and how they’re treating those kids, but nobody’s got a handle on the AAU folks.
There are too many cases of kids being exploited by shady operators and while not all of the AAU folks are that way, there are enough that it raises a flag with us in athletic administration. We want to take care of our kids.
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at firstname.lastname@example.org.