As he looks toward his third season as Forsyth Central athletic director, everything is going according to plan for Mike Woodard.
He wanted to sit back, observe and listen his first year.
He wanted to start implementing more of his vision for Bulldogs athletics this past season.
So he’s anxious to see what next season brings.
"We’re definitely going to have a fresh outlook this year," Woodard said.
Woodard spoke with Forsyth County News sports editor Brian Paglia about Central’s softball team returning to the playoffs, several new coaching hires and Woodard’s own progress as athletic director.
What is your overall impression of how Central’s athletic year went?
"I feel there are many areas that our staff continues to improve.
"Undoubtedly, we would love to have more success but we understand that one of our other main focuses is to provide a great environment for our student-athletes that will forge long-lasting memories."
What particular accomplishments or surprises stood out to you?
"We were thrilled for the success of our softball team making it back to the state playoffs after some time. I think it had been four years maybe. We were also thrilled for our co-ed cheerleading team making the state championship."
What were the biggest challenges your players, coaches and administration had to deal with this season?
"The continued growth of our overall program with improved scheduling, facilities and more."
How do you think your players, coaches and administration responded to those challenges?
"With growth come more opportunities, so we are excited what the future has in store for Central."
What kind of community support did your teams receive this season?
"Outstanding. The Bulldog nation is very supportive of our entire program. They give tremendously to any endeavor that comes up."
I saw you have quite a few new coaches on board for next season; how excited are you about the potential for the new coaching staffs?
"Coaching changes are part of the business. Changes provide great opportunities for everyone involved, whether you are coming to Central or leaving. This just happened to be a year where a lot of coaching changes happened at once. Nobody did anything wrong. It’s just change occurred. On both ends it’s a great opportunity. I’m a living example of that. I’ve been successful at some places and I’ve also needed to leave sometimes for my benefit and the school’s benefit.
"Coaching nowadays, you have to stay fresh. Even if you’re a 20-year veteran, you talk to veteran coaches and they’ll tell you that you’ve got to come up with something fresh each year because there are so many teams out there that may want to pull your athletes away. With newness you know some of that’s going to be taken care of. We’re definitely going to have a fresh outlook this year. That’s a major challenge all coaches go through. But because of the changes that are going through Central, I think we’re ready."
Looking back on the school year, what are you most proud of about the athletic department?
"The continued support, dedication, professionalism of everyone involved – athletes, coaches, faculty, parents, and administration."
You’re going into your third year as Central’s athletic director. What’s helped you the most through this experience?
"Just my experience as an athletic director at other places. Coming into a new situation, especially one geographically totally opposite of my other experiences before, you learn from mistakes and bring things that work from other places. Here I wanted to be careful that I observed and listened the first year and this past year try to implement some things on top of what already existed.
"The biggest thing is just getting everyone to buy into a total program attitude. We all want to support each other and make our program better. With that friendly competition on the staff hopefully comes a better athletic environment."