July 29, 2014

Elyria
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McGuire leaving Elyria High

Lifelong Elyrian and EC grad approved as new Solon AD

For the last 31 years, Mark McGuire has needed to drive all of one mile to reach his place of work. That’s about to change.
After spending his life as a student and professional in the city of Elyria, McGuire will be moving on after being approved as the new athletic director by the Solon board of education on Monday night.
For the past decade, McGuire has served as athletic director at Elyria High, bringing much-needed stability to its sports programs, while expanding its roots into the community. He worked for 21 years at Elyria Catholic, his alma mater, as an AD, coach and teacher.
“It’s truly bittersweet,” McGuire said. “Solon has an outstanding school system and some of the best facilities available for high school athletics. It’s just one of those opportunities that I think comes along once in a lifetime.”
McGuire will be replacing Byron Morgan, who stepped down in order to become head football coach at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin.
“This has been a very comprehensive process and we interviewed many very qualified individuals,” said Solon superintendent Joseph Regana. “But the most important factor was that the person we chose had to be the right fit for Solon. We are confident that Mark McGuire is that person. He has the experience and passion we were looking for in an athletic director.”
McGuire said he has several friends in the Solon area that convinced him to look into the AD vacancy. Last Thursday, McGuire toured the facilities and sat down with administrators and the athletic staff.
“I was blown away,” he said, citing the school’s brand-new football stadium, swimming pool and multiple state-of-the-art gymnasiums.
During McGuire’s tenure at Elyria High, he was responsible for all of the district’s athletic programs in grades 7 through 12, spanning three junior high schools. That will change at Solon, which has only one middle school. On the other hand, Solon’s varsity athletics include several sports not offered at Elyria, such as girls golf and gymnastics and boys ice hockey and lacrosse.
One of McGuire’s most important legacies at Elyria High will be the formation of the new Northeast Ohio Conference and the creation of the schedules in the coming year, for which his role was integral. Solon will compete in the 18-member conference and is slated to face Elyria this fall in football.
McGuire compared the opportunity before him to what he faced 10 years ago moving up from athletic director at Elyria Catholic.
“I think some of my biggest challenges at Elyria were simply to prove I could go from a small division III private school to being successful at a large public school,” he said. “And I think that with the help of a lot of great staff and some great coaches we were successful.”
McGuire’s roots in the Elyria community run deep. He was enshrined in the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and won the athletics director of the year award from the Lorain County Athletic Administrators Association in 1997 and 2003.
“I joke with people that my job is to make sure the bus is there,” he said. “Your job is to get onto it and go. I just make sure things work and run on time.”
McGuire, who has lived in Elyria his entire life, plans to remain a resident.
“I’ve only had to drive one mile north to get to Elyria High,” McGuire said. “When I was at Elyria Catholic, I had to drive one mile west. This will be a little different. There will be long days and a few long nights. I understand that. Maybe after the first snowstorm I’ll change my mind.”
Contact Pete Alpern at 329-7137 or palpern@chroniclet.com.