On Feb. 8, Athletic Director and varsity head women’s water polo coach Joe Welsh announced his resignation from his position at PUSD, a little less than seven months after he started the job. Welsh officially left PHS on Friday, March 2.
Welsh said he has been hired as the head varsity water polo coach at Acalanes High School and been offered a job at a company his friend started.
“The decision was based on what I wanted to do most with my career, which is to spend more time with great kids like the ones I coached and interacted with at Piedmont,” Welsh said.
Welsh also said that he and his wife recently had their second child, which he took into account when making his decision.
“I looked at where I wanted my career to go, and decided that this just wasn’t the best fit,” Welsh said. “It’s just the nature of the job.”
There were parts of the job of Athletic Director that played a larger role and were more intense than he expected when he accepted the job, Welsh said.
“As [Athletic Director], I dealt with a lot of negativity, just like a principal,” Welsh said. “I decided that it just wasn’t the best fit for me and my family.”
In addition, the job of Athletic Director focuses on the management of the sports teams, from hiring coaches to managing the facilities and fields, Welsh said.
“I had little contact with high school students,” Welsh said. “I’d much prefer to spend all my time with high school students versus being an administrator in the background.”
PUSD hired Welsh last spring and he began at his two positions this past fall, but has been coaching water polo for years, Welsh said.
“My love outside of teaching is coaching high school water polo,” Welsh said. “The highlight of my career here was coaching the girls water polo team.”
Welsh said he and the girls water polo team formed a very strong relationship and bond.
“Coach Welsh was a very enthusiastic and positive coach, and would always push each player to be the best that she could be,” said junior water polo player Caroline Kraetzer. “I think I will miss his constant energy, fist-pumping and high-fiving, the most.”
Kraetzer said that while the team didn’t make it to NCS this year, Welsh helped the team come together as a whole.
“I just realized that [this year with the girls] was such an amazing experience I wanted to replicate that throughout a whole year,” Welsh said. “It has nothing to do with how great the Piedmont community is, and I’m going to miss a lot of the students, and parents, and administrators that I met here.”
As Athletic Director, one of his main goals coming in was to increase the positive mindset culture at PHS, Welsh said.
“If we can cultivate a culture of positivity for both athletes and coaches it will be beneficial to all,” Welsh said. “ I think we made and still can make some changes that will have positive long term effects.”
Welsh implemented that same positive mindset in the pool as well, Kraetzer said.
“His positive mindset culture was always very inspiring and allowed for every practice to be challenging while keeping up the spirits of everyone on the team,” Kraetzer said. “It helped motivate everyone, but also showed us that there was more than just winning and losing.”
Another recent item on his agenda was to fill the position of head football coach, Welsh said.
“I’m excited about the candidates we have,” Welsh said. “However, I am only setting up the interviews and getting resumes, and won’t have any role after I leave on Friday. The panel for the interviews includes Principal Adam Littlefield, assistant Athletic Director Allison West, along with three parents and three player leaders.”
Now, in addition to the football coach, Piedmont will have to find a new Athletic Director as well, said varsity football assistant coach Nick Safir.
“Well, it’s hard to have your third athletic director in the last three years leave,” Safir said. “You know, he will be missed, but as a school we have to move on.”
As of March 2, the administration did not know whether they will hire a new Athletic Director by the end of 2017-2018 school year.
“Piedmont is a great community with a lot of great people who just want the best for the kids who go here,” Safir said. “We just have to give [the Athletic Director] the support and the means needed to help the coaches coach their sport to the best of their ability.”