Familiar role as athletic director suits Wienke
TUSCOLA – Stan Wienke hasn't had time to decorate his office yet, but a few mementos still grace the walls of the space he once called his own for five years.
There are conference championship patches, old varsity letters and a plaque commemorating Tuscola's 16 consecutive postseason appearances in football. Those all remained in the two years Ron O'Hearn held the job – and will stay with Wienke now that he's back in his old chair.
"I got to get my decorations back in here," Wienke said. "That'll be good because my garage is full. There's a lot of stuff in there, and I don't have anywhere else to put it."
Other than that, everything else is familiar for Wienke, the former Tuscola football coach who left after the 2007-08 school year for a brief stint as head coach at Waterloo (Iowa) West. The 55-year-old is retired and working part time at Ironhorse Golf Club in the morning. When his previous position as athletic director opened because of budget cuts, he jumped at the opportunity.
O'Hearn's position as director of student services was cut, and he was reassigned to teach at the elementary school.
"Ron did an outstanding job. Hated to see him go," Tuscola Principal Kyle Ransom said. "I know Ron didn't want to go, and I can understand that, but unfortunately tough economic times call for tough decisions, and it was tough to cut that position, but it was one that was pretty necessary to do."
So as long as Wienke doesn't work more than 600 hours or 120 days as the athletic director, his retirement won't be affected. In a lot of ways his hours will be similar to what they were during his previous stint. He works at the golf course from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., then heads to the school to handle the responsibilities of the Warriors' athletic department.
"That's basically what I did before because when I was here before I taught a couple classes in the morning anyway, then go outside and work on the field or whatever," Wienke said.
The decision to go with Wienke and not an external candidate was logical. In place is a man who knows what the job entails and someone who's been successful at it.
"He was by far the most appropriate candidate. That was a huge factor because trying to train someone in a new position, quite frankly, we just don't have the time to, so it was a no-brainer," Ransom said. "Stan will be very well-received. He's very organized, very dedicated and a committed person. I think he'll do an outstanding job. I sit back and stay out of his way. I was able to do that with Ron, and I trust Stan will afford me that same opportunity so I can focus more on the academic side."
Not much has changed in the Tuscola athletic department since Wienke left two years ago. The football program, under Rick Reinhart, is coming off a state championship – it won a title and finished second in the last two years of Wienke's previous tenure – and most other programs remain competitive.
"I like being involved in all the stuff. I think we're doing fine overall," Wienke said. "I watched girls' basketball last year, and they're still very competitive. Boys' basketball is probably the only one that's changed some. Ryan (Tabeling) got out of baseball this year, but I think we've got a real good person (Duff Hoel) to take that over.
"We've taken lumps in some things and most schools do, but overall our athletic program has been pretty good."
For the second consecutive year, Wienke will serve as an assistant to Reinhart on the football staff. His son, Jud, is expected to be the starting quarterback.
Stan Wienke also will have opportunities to make trips to Iowa City, where his son, John, is a quarterback for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
"When I was AD before and head coach on a Friday night football game and a Monday night JV game, I still had to control the football part of it, and Mr. Ransom had to help me get the officials to a locker room and he would pay them. He was more of the administrative part of it, and I was doing the coaching. Now I don't have too much to do during pregame football. My work's done during the week," he said. "Now I'll be handling the referees and feeding them and paying them. There's not much difference otherwise."
Except those bare office walls and getting his name on the door. But those will be taken care of soon enough.
Mark your calendar
Five key dates for the upcoming prep football season:
First day of practice — Contenders or pretenders? Find out which one your favorite team is on the first day of two-a-days.
Opening night — The long wait is over, football — and tailgating — season officially kicks off.
Playoff pairings announced — Playoff-eligible teams find out who they’ll play and in which class they’ll compete in the postseason.
State championship games — Tuscola and Unity played last year at Memorial Stadium. Will they be back and will other area teams join them?
National Signing Day — Find out where the area’s elite players will play their college football on the first day of the signing period.