September 20th, 2016
Mark Albertini is the active Athletic Director at Carbondale Community High School, his second year in this position. Previously Albertini taught History and Drivers Education for 10 years, as well as coached Football, Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball.
Q: I know at the collegiate level fundraising is a big part of the job, do you find yourself doing a lot of that?
A: No, we are very fortunate here in Carbondale. I’m going to go ahead and say that we have the best booster program in the state of Illinois. It’s a group of parents, they get together. Tammy Vaughn, owner of Tres Hombres, they raised $50,000 for the athletic booster club. $50,000 in a small town in Carbondale for our kids. That’s incredible. We also encourage our coaches to fund-raise on themselves. For instance our cheer leading tonight at McAlister’s is going to be working there and 10% of the proceeds from 5-7p.m. is going to go back to our cheer-leading team.
Q: How did being a head coach prepare you, if at all, for the Athletic Director position?
A: A lot. We’ve had some students from SIU come in and say I want to be an Athletic Director. If you are interested in becoming an AD first of all get your teaching degree, especially if you want to stay in Illinois, and get your Type 75, your administration certificate. When this position opened up there were a lot of people who were like, oh I’d love to be an AD, but they didn’t have their Type 75. You’re required to evaluate teachers as well and that’s a big thing in education right now. But just the experience I had, first of all being a young coach thinking I know everything because i just got done playing college football. You really don’t because there’s a whole different aspect to it. You have to deal with managing finances, coaches, players. Dealing with kids who have special needs. Dealing with their home life that you may not have even thought about. I learned a lot of that over the first nine years as a teacher. When i became a head coach, knowing how to delegate responsibilities helped out a lot. Having to let people go of a position. I had a great friend of mine, he coached football for over 30 years and was my defensive coordinator. We were giving up over 30 points a game and I met with my AD and he asked me what I was going to do differently. Well I had went to a lot different schools, I noticed that their oldest and most experienced coach was with the Freshmen to teach them the concepts of how to tackle and block. Coaching other coaches how to coach, and that’s where they need to be at. I approached my friend about it and he pretty much told me to shove it. That was tough but you’re looking out for the benefit of the entirety of your program. I learned that you have to be able to make difficult decisions in the snap of a finger.
Q: You’re dealing with a lot of younger kids, what is the main goal for you to see out of the kids playing sports? Do you want them to be extremely high achieving athletes or do you want them to be better people?
A: First I want them to be great students. When I was a football coach I always told my athletes your brain will take you a lot further that the ball ever will, because your playing career is going to end someday. I also want them to be competitive and learn to be competitors. We live in a competitive society. When all of you here graduate, guess what you’re going to be doing, competing for a job. I want them to be able to learn at the next level in college. I want them to be the best they can be because there’s going to be other people from all over the world that their going to be competing against for possible the same job. I also want them to have a love and appreciation for the game. Sports is always going to be here, it’s always going to be a huge part of our society. Look at all the problems we have going on right now in our country, but I can turn the TV on to ESPN and forget about it all. I can watch the Olympics. There’s a lot of problems down here in Rio, but we weren’t focused on them, we were focused on Phelps, Bolt, and Biles and what they were doing. The amazing performances were making us forget about everything that’s actually going on down there. So I want them to have that love and appreciation for the game so maybe one day they can pass on the same values I’m stressing to them.