Last summer, longtime Fauquier High softball coach Mark Ott got a new job as an assistant activities director at the school
This summer, he accepted a different new job.
Effective July 1, Ott is the seventh head activities director in Falcons history, replacing Mark Holmes.
“It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Ott said. “I am looking forward to the challenges.”
Holmes, meanwhile, will be a full-time physical education teacher at the school after finishing six years as AD at Fauquier and five at Liberty.
Ott learned many facets of the job this past year under Holmes, making him an obvious choice to be promoted by Kraig Kelican, Fauquier’s new principal. Kelican, an assistant principal at the school since 1997, succeeded Clarence “Tripp” Burton, who resigned after six years as FHS principal.
The Fauquier County School Board approved Ott’s appointment via a consent agenda item at its June 10 meeting. Ott, 48, holds a master’s degree in administration. He said he resisted the temptation to pursue assistant principal or AD jobs in nearby Prince William or Loudoun counties because Fauquier is home.
“I love it here,” he said. “I have roots in Fauquier County because I have been at the same high school my whole professional career.”
A successful softball coach, Ott went 236-136-1 in 17 years and helped Fauquier reach two state championship games. He was the Falcons’ golf coach for eight years, coached football for six and baseball for two.
Now Ott, a long-time science teacher, is excited with life on the administrative side.
“I never wanted to leave” Fauquier, he said. “Just waiting for the opportunity and right kind of position to open up, and it finally did.”
Ott said the early months will be transitional for him, but he wants to push for facility upgrades, including finding funds to install artificial turf on Falcon Field.
In the short term, Fauquier will re-grade to drain water from the center of the field to the corners, allowing for better removal. He also said the baseball infield will be re-graded in the next several weeks to repair damage from the consistent rains over the last year.
Ott said that he, Kelican and other administrators will emphasize accountability as the school evolves with the new leadership. Each staff member, coach, sponsor and student will be held responsible for their performance.
They “need to be held to that same standard,” Ott said. “They all are representing Fauquier High School home and away.”
He said work is underway to replace the current athletic handbook with an all-inclusive activities version.
Kelican also has a goal of having at least one coach per sport within Fauquier High during the school day, a departure from the current status in which more than half of the coach work outside the school. Ott strongly supports the concept, believing it will strengthen bonds between athletes and coaches. Having coaches in the building also allows them to monitor problems that arise during daily activities.
Assistant AD sought
Ott’s promotion creates a need for a new assistant AD. He and Kelican will schedule interviews next week, already having “five to seven applicants.”
Both men prefer to have one individual covering all three sports seasons instead of a different person for each season.
“So I don’t have to train somebody three [different] times,” Ott said.
Assistant ADs will begin work Aug. 1, leaving a small window before football opens practice that day with other fall sports beginning Aug. 5.
The school also needs to find a replacement teacher for Ott’s earth science and astronomy classes.