John Morgan expects to feel at home when he becomes athletics director at Northridge High School.

John Morgan expects to feel at home when he becomes athletics director at Northridge High School.

Morgan, a 1981 graduate of Chardon in northeast Ohio, said the Northridge district is much like the one in which he grew up.

"Chardon is a lot bigger than it was when I grew up there, but Northridge is a lot like the community that I came from," Morgan said. "It's a chance, to me, to come back to what I know."

Morgan was athletics director at Bexley for six years until leaving to become an assistant principal at Central Crossing.

"The thing we like about John is that he comes to us with integrity," superintendent Chris M. Briggs said. "People who know him throughout central Ohio respect him and he also brings 15 years of experience in the classroom with him, so he has that teaching and administrative background."

Morgan will replace Wayne Howard, who led the athletic boosters before becoming athletics director in 2011. Howard's contract was not renewed.

After a failed levy in May 2011, Howard nursed the athletics program through no school funding and $500 pay-to-participate fees that fall to lower fees the following year of $400 for the first sport, $250 for the second and $200 for the third.

"Wayne was instrumental in getting us through a period when we had full pay-to-(participate) and he really did a lot for the district," Briggs said. "The (athletics director) position has evolved to where we needed an administrator, and Wayne is not certified as an administrator."

Morgan said his experience with South-Western City Schools should be an asset at Northridge.

"I was at South-Western City Schools when we became the first district (in the area) to do away with sports (in fall 2009 after a levy failure), so I know all about that," Morgan said. "It can take several years to recover from something like that. It's in my interest and the interest of the district to help some of the areas that are struggling."

Morgan is scheduled to start Aug. 1.

"I believe Wayne's contract runs through the end of June, but we'll be OK," Briggs said. "We believe John's background is a good fit for us."