Carbondale Community High School’s hiring of Gwen Poore as Head Boys and Girls Athletic Director seems to be the best fit for both parties.
Poore is swapping roles with former AD Mark Albertini, who assumes Poore’s position as Assistant Principal at CCHS. There was also a change at the Assistant AD position with Thor Hadfield replacing Marialice Jenkins, as Albertini’s email to the media described both his and Jenkins' interest in holding positions that allow more time with family.
With fall sports beginning in less than a month (Aug. 12), Poore is working quickly to align her goals with the readiness of her student-athletes.
“This is where my passion is," said Poore, “I missed athletics tremendously and the nice thing is that Mark left everything in excellent shape. He’s also right down the hall if I need anything, so that’s a good feeling.”
Still on Poore’s ‘to-do’ list is making sure officials and coaches are taken care of for the upcoming seasons. Her resume includes seven years as volleyball coach at CCHS, two years as AD at Elgin High School in Northern Illinois and four years at Anoka High School in Minnesota.
Poore begins her fifth year at CCHS, while her husband Pat Poore works as an assistant tight end, fullback and special teams coach for the SIU Salukis football program. Poore has two children that live in the area: her daughter Taylor Hoistad and son Trevor Poore.
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Poore has one grandchild from her son, while her daughter is expecting a child in December.
“We’ve been all across the Midwest following Pat’s career but Carbondale is home for us,” said Poore. “Pat has coached for 36 years and we live and breathe sports, so we are very fortunate for this opportunity.”
Poore grew up attending a small high school in Kansas, where she participated in volleyball, basketball, cheerleading and track and field. She never played sports at the collegiate level, but did win a state title in girls basketball her sophomore year.
Poore has since been in contact with former CCHS volleyball coach Jennifer Stanley and former girls basketball and softball coach Vicky King regarding her new position. She is driven by getting more students involved with athletics.
“When I was here before, I coached volleyball with Stanley, and Vicky has always been my mentor,” said Poore. “Mark had me on the CCHS Athletic Hall of Fame Committee already and I know that’s a big deal in our community.
“Community connection is something I want to strengthen. With the pandemic and COVID-19, I know we’ll have work to do with students to make them feel safe.”
CCHS has also undergone a number of coaching changes during the summer: Naomi Grishom is the new head girls golf coach, Wendell Wheeler is the new head boys golf coach and Troy Barton replaces Jim Miller as the new head boys basketball coach.
Poore said CCHS is still hiring assistant coaches for both boys and girls basketball. Those interested can apply by contacting Poore at 618-203-0383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’d like to see our numbers go up because right now our sports are struggling with numbers,” said Poore. “(Students) have been isolated this past year; it’s like having two freshman classes because a lot of our incoming sophomores didn’t have a freshman year.
“There’s a lot of kids walking our halls that need sports. School-wide we are putting support in place because we want to encourage and provide the best experience for our kids.”
Poore and the CCHS staff are preparing for everything this school year in regards to navigating around COVID-19. She’ll be in charge of managing masked non-vaccinated students indoors while outdoor sports no longer require students in masks.
“I’m lucky to have coaches that do a great job,” said Poore. “I have six years here; I told Superintendent (Daniel) Booth and Principal (Ryan) Thomas that I would love to finish out my career as Carbondale’s AD.
“I’m ready to get as much done as I can.”