Harder’s Interview: His Experience Three Months as AD

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Harder’s Interview: His Experience Three Months as AD

William Petitt, Sports Editor

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With three months as full time Athletic Director under his belt, former Men’s Basketball Head Coach Matthew Harder is leading the Page Athletic program with confidence. In this interview, he answers liminal questions about his experience so far as Athletic Director, his coaching perspective and influences upon his career among other topics.

How are you adjusting to your new role as Athletic Director?

“I feel like I am adjusting well to the new role. This is definitely a learning experience as I have taken on many new roles and responsibilities. I really have enjoyed this expanded role as I have had the opportunity to work with more student-athletes, coaches, and parents. I am very fortunate to work with an administration that is very supportive of athletics and shares a vision of creating a rich experience for all student-athletes at Page. We have a tremendous athletic administrative team that is fully invested in take athletics to the next level. Coach Jones has been an integral piece behind the scenes this year helping with athletics. The Page community is truly special, and I feel very lucky to play a part of it.”

As a coach yourself, what does Page need to do to ensure a future of athletic success?

“Page is known statewide as having a storied and rich history of athletic success. All you need to do is walk through the Mac Morris gym and glance in the rafters to witness the multiple state championships that span across numerous sports. My role is to assist all Page student-athletes and coaches with the tools they need to succeed both on and off the playing field. Whether that’s assisting with student-athletes with the NCAA clearinghouse process or simply making sure teams have the best possible equipment, I am up to the challenge of making it happen.”

Do you anticipate on adding any sports to Page’s athletic program or keeping continuity with the sports offered at Page now?

“We have been fortunate at Page to offer all sports recognized by the NCHSAA. Our plan moving forward is to continue offering these sports and while competing the highest possible level. There are several club sports that are also important to our school community that we would also like to continue.”

Are there any construction projects or improvements to the facilities you would like to see completed during your tenure as Athletic Director?

“Mr. Naglee and I have discussed a number of facility improvements over this summer and beyond. We have created a “master plan” of improvements that we believe will enhance the experience for both student-athletes and spectators. We must be creative in our approach as we do have limited field space and often have limited funds. I would wager that there will be some noticeable changes by next August and even more so as move into the years beyond.”

It is my understanding that your father was both a Coach and an Athletic Director as well. What influence or insight has he provided on your career?

“My dad has been by far the most influential person in my life. He served as a very successful high school basketball coach and athletic director almost the entirety of my childhood into my college years. He also taught a variety of English, literature, and composition classes before assuming his AD role. I grew up tagging along with him to a variety of sporting events and it fostered a love for high school athletics. I always admired his selflessness and his work ethic while he served in these roles. His passion for both academics and athletics was always evident I want to follow in his footsteps and provide the best student-athlete experience at Page. Spending the last 5 years coaching with him is something I will cherish the rest of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

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