After a school year riddled with problems because of the pandemic, it seemed things were finally starting to get back to normal this summer for Orange High School.
Then, Katie Hine announced her resignation on June 23 as the athletic director in order to take on the position of associate athletic director at John Carroll University.
It didn’t take long for the Orange City School District to hire a new athletic director. In fact, it took less than 30 days to bring in a new face to headline the athletic department.
On July 23, the board hired Timothy Porter to replace Hine, agreeing to a two-year contract with the former athletic director of Mineral Ridge High School.
His duties begin August 1.
“I’m extremely excited,” said Porter. “This is a dream come true. This is what I’ve been working to achieve for nine years. I have seen what athletic directors do. I saw what the work is and it’s work I like to do. I enjoy doing this. I also enjoy watching student-athletes grow. It doesn’t matter what sport. I love watching kids perform in their respective sports so this is really the opportunity of a lifetime and I could not be more excited to go to a great place like Orange.”
As much as Porter enjoyed his time as an AD at Mineral Ridge, it was only a part-time position. He began looking for a full-time
AD position at a number of schools around Ohio several years ago.
After coming across the opening at Orange via social media, Porter submitted his resume and things started moving. The school board brought him in for an interview on July 7 then scheduled a follow-up interview on July 12. Less than a day later, Orange High School principal Paul Lucas called Porter and offered him the job.
This was not the first time that Porter, 48, traveled to Pepper Pike.
Three years ago, the former Mineral Ridge AD came to Pepper Pike for a pupil activity class. It turned out to be a memorable trip.
“The day I was there I
accidentally parked in the wrong area of the school district,” chuckled Porter. “I did not know the layout of the school. It just so happened that one door was open, and I had to walk through the school. It was summer time, and I was just in awe of how beautiful the school was. I started looking around and saw the swimming pool. I poked my head in the window of the gym, and it really felt like it was a nice place that you want to be.”
A native of Warren, Porter can still recall going to Warren G. Harding Mollenkoff Stadium to watch football games on Friday nights with his grandparents when he was 5. It’s a tradition he continued well into adulthood.
“I loved watching Warren G. Harding,” he said. “Still to this day, even before I became an athletic director or got hired at Mineral Ridge, you would see me at football games. I was always checking out the game of the week in the area of the two schools you wanted to see play so that’s kind of where it all started with me when it came to high school sports.”
Porter played sports during his time at Howland High School but did not continue his athletic career when he went to Youngstown State University. He graduated with a degree in business administration but he continued
to love sports as he worked in the private sector.
Working as marketing administrator of Youngstown Iron & Metal, Porter also became the coach of the eighth grade girls basketball team for Byzantine Catholic Central. When the recession hit in 2008, his position at Youngstown Iron & Metal was eliminated.
Porter’s wife, Michele, pushed him to go back to school and pursue a degree in education because she knew how much he loved working with children. Porter admitted he was nervous going back to school for a career change.
“I was a non-traditional student going back and rubbing elbows with traditional students again,” he said. “It was definitely kind of scary and also not knowing if this was going to work. Would I be getting a job in education? The recession was hitting at the time and there were no guarantees at that point in time, but it was a risk that I was willing to take. I knew there could be potential rewards at the end of the tunnel.”
Youngstown State’s policy had any student pursuing a degree in education would be designated to student teach at a school of the University’s choosing. Porter was assigned to do his student teaching at Mineral Ridge High School in 2010.
Porter made quite an impression on Superintendent Damon Dohar during his brief time at Mineral Ridge. Once he completed his requirements as a student teacher in December 2010, Dohar invited him back on a part-time basis to do consulting and field work.
As he was graduating from Youngstown State, Porter found a social studies teacher’s position at Mineral Ridge. Porter said that he was planning on getting into coaching when once he landed a full-time teaching job but Dohar believed he was suited for a more high-profile position.
“One of the conditions that Damon told me was if he brought me on board as teacher then I was also going to be an assistant athletic director,” explained Porter. “The plan from day one was that in a couple of years I would be moved into the athletic director’s position once the current athletic director, Darren Garris, retired.”
Porter followed Dohar’s plan to a tee as he served as the assistant AD for three years before becoming the athletic director in 2014.
“I was not used to what the surroundings were going to be,” Porter said. “But once I started to work with people and gradually developed myself into the position, the coaches I had at Mineral Ridge were great to work with. They worked with me all the time. You’re going to find problems in every sport. It comes up all the time and it’s just how do you solve them? Sometimes it takes a few days to figure out. I would say it was nerve-wracking at first but the more and more you got into it, the comfort level started to come about.”
Although Orange is located 43 miles from Porter’s house, the plan is for him to commute to Pepper Pike for a year before he and his wife make a permanent move. Porter’s two sons, Michael and Matthew, are preparing for their senior year at McDonald High School, and he does not want to displace them.
He plans to come to Pepper Pike well before his official start date to get the lay of the land. Porter took a huge risk when he changed careers but the risk turned out to be well worth the reward, and he built a lasting decade of memories at Mineral Ridge.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Porter. “I’m going to miss the relationships that I’ve built here at Mineral Ridge. I have had great relationships with just about all the athletic directors in the Mahoning Valley which I’m still going to maintain even when I’m at Orange.”