Playing a part in Marion High School’s first state championship since 2000, balancing the budget and starting a student-athlete leadership team are some of the highlights that Jamy Bechler will look back fondly on from his two years serving as the athletic director at Marion High School. He announced today that he will be stepping down from the A.D. position.
“My family and I have truly enjoyed being a part of the Marion community and getting to know so many great people,” Bechler said. “I am proud of so many of the Giant successes that our student-athletes and teams achieved. We accomplished a great deal in the last two years. I am extremely grateful for the people that I met who truly want the best for Marion’s student-athletes. It was great working with those community members that wanted to see Marion achieve its potential.”
Prior to coming to Marion two years ago, Bechler had spent his entire career at the collegiate level as a basketball coach. He had also served as a sports management professor and assistant athletic director. This past February, he traveled to Orlando to complete his certification as a John Maxwell Leadership speaker, trainer and coach. John Maxwell is considered the top leadership expert in the world, authoring more than 100 books.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce that I will be leaving after I fulfill my obligations to Marion for this school year. Currently, I have a number of good options back at the college level, which I will be pursuing. Since joining the John Maxwell Team, my opportunities to speak at conferences and conduct leadership training have also increased a great deal. I am giving my notice now out of respect for Marion’s student-athletes. This will allow Marion High School to begin the planning process of finding my replacement and continuing the progress we’ve made during the last two years.”
In addition to the championships, improved financial status and emphasis on student-athletes during Bechler’s tenure, he was instrumental in securing the school’s first basketball sectional since 2008 and the first girls’ soccer sectional ever. Just recently, Bechler finalized plans for the second annual Marion Basketball Classic, which showcases some of the best boys’ basketball teams and players in the state. Bechler also directed the search for a new MHS football coach that led to the hiring of Coach Craig Chambers, who led his previous team to an IHSAA semi-state appearance last year.
“Jamy Bechler took the baton of Marion Giant athletics and led us upward during his tenure,” Marion Community Schools Superintendent Brad Lindsay said. “I know he will continue to do so until he passes the baton to our next director of athletics. Marion Giant athletics is on the rise, as evidenced by increased student-athlete achievement and leadership development, stabilized finances, enhanced athletic facilities, and an energetic web and social media presence. There is a renewed spirit throughout our athletic program and community. There is increased student-athlete participation, and there are more enthusiastic Marion Giant fans in the stands.”
Not only did Bechler create budgets for the various sports and control spending, he also led the way for the athletic department to provide more than $15,000 in funds to various teams and groups at the high school through the concession stand fundraising program. This amount was double what had been given prior to Bechler’s tenure. He also teamed with Marion Community Schools Creative Development Consultant Mark Fauser and Communications Director Patricia Gibson to spearhead the Giant Challenge alumni vs. athletes fundraising event, design a fresh new look for the Bill Green Arena, and establish an endowment with future students in mind. Additionally he oversaw the dedication and implementation of a new turf field, along with renovations to the softball and baseball facilities.
“Jamy left the Marion High School athletic department much better than he found it”, Marion High School Principal Keith Burke said. “He was a good steward for the school community financially and implemented processes that improved the overall function of the high school athletic department.”
Bechler also provided a different perspective on marketing Giant athletics, as he greatly increased the school’s social media profile and helped build a large following for the athletic website culminating in it being the most viewed high school athletics site in Indiana during March 2016, according to Varsity News Network.
“We’re going to definitely miss Jamy,” said MHS boys basketball head coach James Blackmon. “I appreciate the things that he did for our program, not only with schedule organization but also helping individual players. From a communication standpoint, he made sure we were always a step ahead. From a coaching standpoint, he always put us in the position to learn more, to become better coaches and to meet our players’ needs from a health standpoint and more. Jamy provided a great base of support for our program, coaches, and players.
Bechler will remain as director of athletics into the summer as MCS conducts a search for his successor, which will start immediately.