After three years, Mark Wagner decided that serving as both the Director of Athletics and the head coach of the men’s soccer team was simply too much of a commitment.
With more than 70 hours loaded into every work week, Wagner chose to resign from his position as Director of Athletics and Athletic Development in order to create more time to spend with his family.
“I’m just not going to miss out on them growing up,” Wagner said, referring to his sons, Jonathan, 11, and Jake, 8.
Wagner will remain as the head coach of the men’s soccer team, but will no longer oversee the direction of the entire athletic department.
When he is not coaching, Wagner hopes to help grow his camp business, T3 Soccer, that he manages with his brother, Dan, who coaches at Franklin & Marshall College.
Wagner will also expand another business, Soccer Shots, that teaches soccer skills to children ages 3 to 8 within a day care center setting.
Wagner announced his resignation after the fall sports seasons concluded in November.
“I saw it coming,” Associate Athletic Director Heidi Birtwistle said. “Being an AD and being a coach is very difficult.”
Birtwistle has served with five different athletic directors throughout the past 20 years and every single one of them had a second job on campus.
“I knew going into it that it would be a tremendous amount of work,” Wagner said. “I was actually open to the possibility of stepping down as soccer coach … “
Now three years later, Wagner said he felt God was leading him down a different path. His tenure as AD will end in June, when hopefully a new AD will be ready to step in.
This time, the University is looking to hire a sole AD. A search committee headed up by Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham is beginning to process just under 100 applications for the position.
Assistant Athletic Director Ryan Livingston and Birtwistle agreed that Wagner had a strong vision for the department and was able to put it into action.
“The biggest reason why I accepted the job in the first place was to take the concept of spiritual formation and give it strategic legs,” Wagner said.
Under Wagner, the department was able to turn numerous part-time coaching positions into full-time jobs by matching coaches up with other positions on campus. Wagner said this reflects spiritual formation because coaches are more accessible to their athletes.
Wagner was also integral in obtaining the turf fields and founding the Athletics Hall of Honor.
“I think it’s been a positive three years for the department,” Livingston said. “We’ll definitely miss him but I’m excited to see us move forward and how God opens doors for the new person.”