McWhirt ready to take over Wabash AD position

By Josh Sigler

Floyd McWhirt served as the assistant athletic director for the past two years at Wabash High School under Matt Stone, learning the ins and outs of the role of leading an athletic program.

McWhirt knew he wanted to be the head AD, but as the first couple of opportunities presented themselves, the timing wasn’t right for he and his family.

Stone had taken over as the school’s chief financial officer in recent years, and opted to add transportation duties to his responsibilities, leaving the AD’s position open.

This time, the timing was right for McWhirt, who will step in as the new head AD in the fall.

“My wife and I have talked about it, and we feel like it’s a pretty good fit in our lives at this point,” McWhirt said. “I’ve been in the role as assistant AD this year and last, and this seemed like the next step.”

Stone has been instrumental in helping McWhirt learn the ropes the last couple years, leaving McWhirt confident of a seamless transition.

“Matt’s meant a lot for our athletic department overall,” McWhirt said. “He’s been here a while and he knows what he’s doing. I’ve learned a lot from him in general about how the department is ran and how things are done. We like what he does here as a coaching staff – our coaches do – and so I don’t plan on changing anything. We’ll just keep going and add a few things here or there that I’d like to do.”

The biggest lesson McWhirt learned from Stone was how to run the program from a financial standpoint.

“With sports, when it comes to uniforms and everything like that from top to bottom, he’s been a big benefit for me to understand what’s going on behind the scenes,” McWhirt said.

With the transfer from the classroom to the AD’s position, McWhirt opted to resign from his position of head football coach, saying doing both would take up more time than he had to give.

“The athletic department takes a lot of time and so does football,” he said. “If you want to coach football right you have to be there all the time. It’s just not a fall season sport anymore, it’s year-round. I didn’t feel that it was fair to my family to do both at this time. I feel that being new at the AD spot, it’s probably a good idea to step into that and only have one thing to worry about.”

McWhirt said there are a lot of things he’ll miss about coaching football.

“Mainly, the kids,” he said. “I love the game of football and I want our program to succeed. It’s the kids that I’ve worked with that are going to still be here. I’m going to miss everything about those guys. They’ve worked hard to get to where we are.”

McWhirt went 19-53 in seven season as head football coach, but 15 of those 17 wins came in the final three years of his tenure.

The 7-3 campaign in 2015 was the program’s first winning season since 1996.

He pinpointed developing leadership within the program as the main reason for the turnaround.

“When I first took over as a young coach, you expect your seniors to be leaders,” McWhirt said. “We had a rough patch back when I started. As coaches, you coach football but you also need to be able to teach them to be leaders. That’s where I struggled in the beginning, expecting those seniors to be leaders.
“Looking back at it, we put in character and leadership education, where we were really teaching out kids how to be leaders. Our seniors – it was expected of you to be a leader, so these younger guys can look up to you and know what to expect. Those guys did that, and that’s the biggest reason for success in our program – those kids stepping up and learning to be leaders and becoming good leaders.”

McWhirt will have a role in selecting the new coach, and said whoever gets the job needs to get involved with the school and community.

“We need somebody to have to energy within our program,” McWhirt said. “They need to be able to work with the kids. It’s all about the kids. We talk about wins and losses. But, let’s be honest, it’s more about how our kids leave the program from where they enter it. That’s what we want to make sure our next coach does. Make an impact on those kids’ lives to make sure they’re better people when they leave our program.”

Posted on 2018 Apr 10