MARICOPA — Starting a new job can be a stressful situation no matter the circumstance, but to do so when everything you’re supposed to do is up in the air and changing by the day adds a whole new level.
That’s what is facing Evelyn Wynn, the new athletic director at Maricopa High School. With fall sports scheduled to begin competition in a little over a month, there is still little clarity about what’s going to happen when it does, or if it will at all.
On Wynn’s side is nearly a decade of experience as an athletic director. Her AD career began in 2011 at Montoursville Area High School in central Pennsylvania, near where she grew up.
Wanting something different, she looked around the country for a place to continue her work, and landed in Arizona as the AD at Globe High School last summer. Not wanting to make the commute from the Valley any longer, she jumped at the chance to join Maricopa.
“I’m excited to be at a new school,” Wynn said. “I love what I do, and I don’t see myself doing anything else. I wake up, and I’m excited to go to work.”
What that work will look like throughout the year is anybody’s guess, though the Arizona Interscholastic Association is expected to add some clarification some time this week following an executive board meeting.
Plus, there are still regular AD responsibilities on her desk, such as filling coaching vacancies in boys golf, boys tennis and softball.
Currently, all fall sports at MHS are back to practicing after being shut down for a time due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in Arizona this summer. Getting back up to speed, Wynn said, will come in phases and will always follow health and safety guidelines from the district, state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Right now it’s about navigating how to get our feet wet again,” Wynn said. “We don’t want any of our athletes to go into the season without base conditioning.”
The uncertainty is stressful, though. Wynn said she arrives at her office everyday scared to open her email because there could always be that announcement that sports won’t be happening this fall. She said all the coaches at MHS have been on the same page as far as establishing protocol at practice, and the players are taking it seriously after what was likely a big wake-up call following the cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season.
Making sure those kids feel a part of a team is important for Wynn, who has been disappointed not to make more connections with them. She’s been able to attend some practices, but it’s not the same as what she’s used to. This is her first year not teaching along with her administrative duties, so she’s losing out on that part of her job as well.
Still, she said her mission is to provide those students with as fruitful a school year as she can under these circumstances.
“No matter what you’re involved in, I just want to provide the best possible high school experience I can while we navigate what’s going on,” Wynn said. “We’re excited to start, we just don’t know what starting is going to look like right now.”