Ask the AD - Chris McGuinness, Patapsco High School
Today we're featuring Chris McGuinness from Patapsco High School in Baltimore County! During our conversation, Chris talked to us about Patapsco's excellent academic year, the in's and out's of the school's new stadium, and future plans for the athletic program.
County Sports Zone:How did you become the AD at Patapsco? How did your appointment come about?
Chris McGuinness:I was the longtime director for indoor and outdoor track for Baltimore County. I worked really close with Ron Belinko, who was the coordinator for athletics, as well as Mike Sye. It kind of evolved from there.
CSZ:How has the job changed since you started?
CM:A lot more time spend on the computer in terms of scheduling, transportation and the little small details. It's a little less face to face than when I started and I enjoyed that element of it, but now everything seems to be communicated online or through emails.
CSZ:How would you rate this past year for Patapsco Athletics? Were there any highlights that stand out?
CM:Across the board, I think all the programs took that next step. What I'm most proud of is how strong our GPA was. That was my primary focus and we saw some great improvements. For example, 24 of the 26 returning football guys had at least a 77% average, so the GPA was what I am most proud of in all the sports. We had the highest spring GPA that I have had in the nine previous springs since I have been here, which is great.
CSZ:A couple years ago Patapsco had a brand new stadium get built. How has that addition improved Patapsco Athletics?
CM:It's been great. Betty Brown Edwards worked here for 50 years, was a coach, and it was nice to have the field named after her. It really is a showcase for the school, starting with the outdoor restrooms which I don't think any other school in the area has. The concession stands have been great and helped raise a lot of money for both our program and the school.
Having the stadium, a place for the band to sit, it's just tremendous. We get compliments from schools from across the state who have come to Patapsco for sporting events. We don't have a couple thousand seats but what we have is great, and a huge concourse area which we're proud of. It adds some standing room only seats. We've also got a nice flag court, with plenty of tables for fans to sit and eat while enjoying a game.
Our teams love it too, they really look forward to playing home games.
CSZ:How was overseeing that whole process of getting an entire stadium built?
CM:It's kind of in my wheel house, I love construction and do a little at my house. I really enjoyed being a part of all those meetings, which pretty much parlayed me into being in charge of all the facilities here. We got new locker rooms for the girls last year. Right now they are installing a new sidewalk and fencing around the perimeter of the school. I am sort of the point man for our school renovation which is over $40 million, which I guess means the stadium turned out so well that they wanted me to be involved in that.
CSZ:Along with the stadium, what're a couple things that you're especially proud of accomplishing during your time at Patapsco?
CM:Just the growth of the program and the numbers. Two years ago we had close to 800 student athletes which was up over 200 from when I first started, which was nice to see. I'm also proud of the overall improvement in the students' GPA's- our average student GPA in the spring was over 3.0, but it has been close to a 3.0 for awhile now. I'm very proud of that.
In terms of wins and losses, I care more about the grades. I think if you have the athletes there, winning usually comes along with that, along with having passionate coaches. I feel like we're at that tipping point right now where we can go to that next level.
CSZ:How do you view your role within the community?
CM:I'm definitely a cheerleader for the program and for the greater Dundalk community. I bought a house in the area, I'm right down the street. People don't know that Patapsco and Dundalk are waterfront communities, there's beautiful land around this area. It's really a hidden gem in the county.
CSZ:What're a couple keys to running a successful athletic program?
CM:I think the biggest key is organization, followed by needing to have a knowledge of computers to make things more efficient. Having that skill helps out a great deal, and then you have to have that customer service mentality with your colleagues, parents, students and that has to be a focus for the program.
CSZ:Is there anything new or exciting on the horizon for Patapsco Athletics?
CM:Our renovation will start next spring, so the weight room and the locker rooms will be renovated. We'll gain space for the weight room area which will be nice. We'll have a new team room, which I fought for to be Title IX compliant for the girls, so that the volleyball and basketball teams can have an area for away teams to stay that is secure.
We're looking for turf and lights in the near future. We do love playing games on Saturdays for football though. With what we expect of the team this year we think it'll be a great community event for people to come out on a sunny Saturday afternoon and watch Patapsco do well.
|July 21st, 2016||By: Wick Eisenberg|