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LOs new AD coming home

Softball

It seemed that Mark Horak needed to wear two hats last Tuesday when Central Catholic met Lake Oswego in the state softball playoffs. Horak was probably the only person in the park that day with close ties to both schools.

However, Horak was attired that day in his usual Central Catholic garb, which was only fitting since he was still officially serving as the Rams' athletic director. But the day before that game was played, the Lake Oswego School Board approved Horak's appointment as the Lakers' new athletic director.

That appointment will take affect on July 1, when Horak will replace Lake Oswego's current athletic director, Dave Lovelin, who has been promoted to the position of assistant principal at LOHS.

In the meantime, Horak will make his last public appearance as Central Catholic's athletic director this Saturday. That's when the Rams' softball team will play Forest Grove for the state softball championship. Obviously, the Rams' second-round, 10-0 victory over Lake Oswego was no fluke. But Horak had to make sure not to cheer too loudly while standing near the Lake Oswego faithful that day.

'I'm very close to the Central Catholic community … But I was ribbed about which side I was going to sit on,' Horak said.

Horak also has close ties to the Lake Oswego community. In fact, he's lived here most of the last 20 years. So, when the AD post recently opened at Lake Oswego, Horak jumped at the chance to fill it.

'It was an opportunity to work at one of the top school districts in the state,' Horak said.

He certainly has the kind of credentials that would impress any prospective employer. Last year, he was voted the state's athletic director of the year, an honor that was voted on by the members of the Oregon Athletic Directors Association. He also served as president of that association during that same school year.

Lake Oswego principal Bruce Plato knew he had found the right person for the job after he talked with some of the people who knew Horak the best.

'Everyone we talked to had nothing but positive things to say about him,' Plato said.

Replacing Lovelin won't be easy, though.

'Dave did a lot of great things for us,' Plato said. 'But I think Mark will come and do a lot of great things as well.'

Many people think the athletic director has the easiest job in any athletic department. But it's a demanding, sometimes thankless, job with long hours. At Lake Oswego, there's the added pressure of continuing a long tradition of winning programs. Plato, though, doesn't want the latter to become a burden for Horak.

'There's no pressure for winning state championships,' the principal said. 'Those will come from doing the right things,' like hiring good coaches and building solid youth programs.

When asked what his strengths are, Horak was quick to respond.

'I communicate very well and I think I work well with coaches,' he said.

Horak knows what it's like to roam the sidelines during a game. He was Central's head baseball coach and an assistant football coach before becoming the school's athletic director in 1998.

Now, it feels like he's coming home at accepting the LOHS job.

Still, 'I could not have made this move without my family's support,' he said.

Horak and his wife, Kristin, have two children. That includes a 20-year-old daughter who is in college and a son, Jordan, who is a fifth grader in the Lake Oswego School District.

'I'm excited about his opportunity,' Horak said of his new job.