By Nikki Garrett Metzger
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) – Excelsior Charter School starts the new school year on their new campus with a new gym and a new athletic director who has big plans for the sports programs.
Chris Fore was hired in May as the new athletic director for Excelsior’s Athletic program. Originally from Fallbrook near San Diego, Fore started in athletics while still a junior in high school. “I was a teacher’s aide for my Athletic Director and football coach in my junior year,” Fore said. “I was his gopher, doing whatever he told me to do, for an hour a day after class. I just loved it. I did it again as a senior and decided this would be a really great job to have some day.”
Fore coached high school football for thirteen years. He is beginning his fifth year as an Athletic Director. He has a Masters in Athletics Administration and is a certified Athletics Administrator through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, NIAAA.
Fore has a new plan for the athletics program at Excelsior. “I’ve brought a new model to our athletic department, called the ‘Eagle Way’ – building character and winning championships,” he said. “Here at the school, I really want to do a good job with that two-pronged approach to athletics by giving our kids the tools to have a successful life beyond athletics and beyond Excelsior.”
He continued, “One of our visions here is ‘Inspiring a Purposeful Direction for a successful Future’. We want to use athletics as one tool to give these kids a successful future. That includes teaching them to be on time, to practice, to have their uniform and to hold them accountable.”
This is Fore’s first experience at a charter school. In 16 years working with kids he has worked for six years at a church and then the last ten years have been at two private schools. The charter school setting presents an interesting challenge from a traditional school setting. “One of the challenges here in building an athletic program and building teams is, if we want to have a meeting for our football team, we can’t make an announcement that there’s going to be a meeting tomorrow at lunch, because the kids aren’t here from 8am-3pm. That presents a little bit of a challenge in getting kids involved in sports.”
“We have to do a better job here internally marketing our athletic program. Kids are big on social media these days, so we started a Facebook page for Excelsior Athletics. We are using Twitter as a tool also. Before, there was no way to know.”
Fore has also started a Game of the Week to highlight and promote one game every week to get a great crowd to come out to the game. “We are also going to start an Athlete of the Week recognition every Monday. Those two things are two tools I used at my last school, to kind of help build up our athletic program.”
The athletic program gets to start the year off with the new gym. Fore said it has two volleyball courts side by side and two basketball courts side by side. It will seat approximately four hundred for games, and about nine hundred fifty for assemblies. The first game played in the gym was the girls’ volleyball game. “They’ve been practicing in there and they are just raving about being right here on campus, both the girls and their parents. That’s a great thing,” Fore said.
Excelsior’s athletic program is about to see many changes. Fore said he is happy with the coaching staff he has in place, and he is excited to be able to offer his coaches more stipend pay and even a little bonus, “I’m really excited about this move, we are offering them playoff pay, so if their team goes into playoffs, they are going to get a little more money because they are out there longer.”
“The last school where I was Athletic Director worked up to the point where we won five championships in a year. I want to get Excelsior to that point, where we are winning two, three, five league championships a year and kids, I think, want to start becoming better teams and working in keeping our coaches here.”
Fore is active on social media. Visit his website http://coachchrisfore.wordpress.com/ where you can follow his blog and connect with him on twitter @coachfore.