Redeker new Mohawk AD
For the first time in more that two years, Mohawk Trail Regional High School has a true athletic director.
The announcement was made Monday that the Mohawk School District was hiring Fred Redeker to take over immediately as the athletic director in Buckland, where he’ll serve the nine-town school district.
The move comes two-plus years after John Hickey was not rehired following the 2009-10 school year in what was described as a budget-cutting measure. Mohawk superintendent Michael Buoniconti named vice-principal Joey Kotright-Clark as AD and hired Jessica Hicks as a part-time assistant. Hicks was not rehired prior to this season and was replaced by Virginia Wiswell, who already worked in the building as a Technology Specialist but was also hired for Hicks’ former job on a part-time basis. Wiswell will remain in the building and go back to her previous duties.
The restructured AD position became a difficult transition for the school. Kotright-Clark and Hicks/Wiswell did their best to keep the athletic program afloat, but Kotright-Clark already had his hands full as vice principal and Hicks/Wiswell was only a part-timer. The result was that for the past two years the Mohawk athletic department has endured tough times, prompting the administration to re-evaluate the situation.
“When you don’t have that one person to do the job, you get really efficient at running the basics,” Kotright-Clark said. “What you don’t get to do is grow the program. We were just running the basics.”
A four-person search committee was formed and 16 applicants were reviewed before narrowing the field to four candidates. Kotright-Clark said he budgeted the position for the rest of this year and all of next but did not have a lot of money and thought he might have to hire someone fresh out of college. He said that he wound up hitting the jackpot with Redeker.
“We got lucky because we got that X-factor, someone with a deep, passionate connection to our nine towns,” Kotright-Clark said. “If you think about Mohawk as an institution, it has a small-town feel in a building full of kids from nine different towns. He’s of and in this community.”
Redeker is a Shelburne native who graduated from Mohawk in 1999. He went on to attend the University of Massachusetts and graduated in 2004 with degrees in both sports management and finance. During his time at UMass, Redeker served as assistant basketball coach under previous full-time athletic director John Hickey from 2001-04. Redeker took an athletic-director internship at Belchertown High School prior to graduating from UMass, but wound up moving to the eastern part of the state after graduating, where also served as an assistant basketball coach at Suffolk University and Newbury College on top of his regular job.
Redeker made another move in 2006 by heading down to Florida with his future wife to work as a geometry teacher at Lakeland High School, also coaching the junior varsity basketball team at Orlando’s Freedom High School. In 2008, Redeker moved back to the area with wife Amie Redeker, who seven months ago delivered their first child, son Andrew.
In his time back, Redeker has been working at his family’s business, Taylor Rental, on High Street in Greenfield, which he has run with his brother and mother since the passing of his father, Jerry Redeker, in 2009. He worked as a JV basketball coach at Pioneer Valley Regional School under Dave Hastings from 2008-10 and then took over as Mohawk’s varsity basketball coach for the 2010-11 season, a position he still holds. Redeker said that through the hiring process his main concern was not trying to get the athletic department back on track, but to make sure that, like him, the administrators would be in it for the long run.
“You need longevity in order to successfully build this,” Redeker explained. “I wanted to make sure that we were moving forward in a positive direction and they gave me that assurance.”
As for the issues plaguing the Mohawk athletic department, Redeker believes that having one person responsible for the entire program will help clear up the confusion that existed over the past two years.
“I think there are a lot of bridges that need to be mended,” he said. “There were too many channels and I think one thing we are looking to do is to eliminate some of that confusion. I think we can get this back to where it was. There’s enough community support.”
As for the community, the Mohawk Athletic Association has also given their approval to the hiring (MAA co-president Cathy Buntin was one of four members on the search committee), and Redeker said one of his main goals is to have an open ear. He said that at the end of every basketball season he sends out a coaching evaluation to each parent to draw open and honest feedback.
“Everybody wants to be involved in the process, and I think that’s important,” Redeker said. “I think that sports is one of the most important learning processes in a child’s life, and I want all the parents to know that I care about their child and the program.”