When new North Marion athletic director Brandon Fricke officially started his position Tuesday, it will be the culmination of years of travel and experience throughout northwest Oregon.
Fricke, who will also be vice principal for North Marion High School, was excited to take the torch from Andy Jones, who accepted a job as Oregon Citys athletic director this summer.
I think (Jones) did a phenomenal job of leaving a program in a great position, Fricke said. If its not broke, dont fix it, and right now, its definitely not broke.
Prior to starting his new position, Fricke, a native of McMinnville, reminisced on the various stops in the Willamette Valley and the coast that eventually led him to North Marion School District.
Fricke was a two-sport athlete in basketball and baseball at McMinnville High School and went on to study and play at Linfield College before injuries forced him to the sideline for good. After graduating, he went back to McMinnville to coach baseball and basketball. Fricke sees a lot of similarities between the community he grew up in and the one hes joining.
It was a small rural community, so I see a lot of what McMinnville is in North Marion, just on a lot smaller scale, he said. I like being able to look out and see countryside. Its quiet. Its a slower pace, especially coming from northeast Portland. This is just a breath of fresh air for me.
Fricke went on to take coaching and teaching positions at Taft, Beaverton and Sunset high schools before teaching middle school physical education and health at Parkrose Middle School in Portland.
He spent the past six years at Parkrose, took a role as dean of students and picked up his administrative license.
Everything happens for a reason. Im a true believer in that, Fricke said. My whole education process, especially with what Ive learned at Parkrose, has definitely helped me become the person I am.
Fricke sought to move away from coaching duties to pursue high school athletics from an administrative side, which drew him to North Marions dual position as athletic director and vice principal.
I thought if I want to get further in the athletic field, I dont really see myself coaching, Fricke said. I see myself setting things up and being behind the scenes in the setup and preparation.
When the North Marion position opened up, Fricke spoke with several colleagues with teaching experience in the district.
They said nothing but the highest praise for the community, the support, the kids, parents and everybody involved, he said.
Now that Fricke has moved into his new job, hes eager to begin learning the responsibilities and duties of the dual positions and excited for the beginning of the school year to start in September.
I cant stress how excited I am, Fricke said. You wont hear this too often from a teacher or an educator, but Im just looking for summer to end, and I cant wait for fall to start.
Fricke has already touched base with many of the coaches on staff at North Marion, and he sees the consistency and stability of the baseball program under the tutelage of longtime coach Randy Brack as a model to follow for the rest of the schools athletic programs.
Randy has done a fantastic job establishing that program, and I would like to get what hes got established for the other programs, Fricke said. I want the best facilities for all of our teams and all of our athletes to participate in, and hes set the bench mark.
But before the 2014-15 school year can began, Fricke has three long months of summer to get acclimated to his new position and getting to know the people and community.
Its just going to be a real joy working with the people at North Marion, he said. Its that close-knit community feel, and Im really looking forward to that.