ELYRIA — Barb Salata is retiring as athletic director at Elyria Catholic, Mike Wisnor is taking over and it’s a toss-up who’s more excited about the situation.
For Salata, it’s a chance to be a full-time teacher again after 30 years as an AD and to spend more time with her six grandchildren. For Wisnor, EC’s Director of Admissions and Dean of Students as well as the boys soccer coach, it’s the chance to be more involved in directing EC’s athletic future.
“I’ve been an athletic director for a really long time,” said Salata, who has spent the last six of those 30 years at EC, her alma mater. “It’s just that it was time to move back into the classroom.”
Salata, who has continued to teach while serving as AD, will be a full-time English teacher. She began her AD career at Cleveland Central Catholic, then moved to Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin before coming home to EC.
She was named the Athletic Administrator of the Year last year by the Northeast Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association and the John Peyton Athletic Director of the Year by the Northeast Alliance of Catholic Athletic Administrators in 2005 while at NDCL.
“It will be difficult to leave the role that I’ve embraced for the past 30 years, but I’m excited to move back into the classroom on a full-time basis.”
Wisnor, a Brush High School and Tiffin University grad, will also serve as assistant principal.
“I’m excited,” he said, while noting that he will definitely also be back as boys soccer coach. “I’ve been around as coach for the last nine years at Elyria Catholic. This is an opportunity to take the next step, if you will.”
He’ll have plenty to deal with in his new job, including ushering the Panthers into a new conference. After years in the spread-out North Coast League, EC begins play full time in the West Shore Conference, where it will compete against other county schools in North Ridgeville, Midview, Avon and Vermilion.
“I have to give Barb Salata lots of credit,” he said. “The move to the West Shore Conference was a brilliant move. We’re very excited about it and our student athletes are very excited to be playing kids they know.”
EC is coming off big years in football and volleyball, but will have new coaches directing both teams in the fall. The Panthers also have a relatively new boys basketball coach and a new hockey coach.
To Wisnor, that’s all just part of the job. His immediate concerns? The facilities.
“That’s been one of the biggest things, looking at our on-site facilities and any improvements,” he said. “That’s going to be an on-going process.”
There’s also the matter of the probation and fine the football program incurred from the Ohio High School Athletic Association for illegal recruiting. Wisnor, who was directly involved in the situation as director of admissions, said the school has reviewed the entire admissions process.
“We’re confident that that is something that is behind us,” he said.
Salata, a 1966 EC grad, played basketball and ran track in high school on an intramural basis because there were no interscholastic sports for girls in those days. She also coached cheerleading at CCC.
Now she plans to do the cheering … for EC’s players and coaches.
“We’ll be watching from the stands,” she said.
Contact Kevin Aprile at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.