The Reynoldsburg Board of Education voted Aug. 17 to approve Jack Purtell as athletics coordinator at Reynoldsburg High School.

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education voted Aug. 17 to approve Jack Purtell as athletics coordinator at Reynoldsburg High School.

Purtell, who has served as coach of the girls basketball team the last eight years and had been teaching social studies at the school, replaces Clint Fetty, who resigned this summer to become athletics director at Delaware.

Reynoldsburg City Schools Superintendent Steve Dackin called Purtell's hiring a "no-brainer."

"Jack Purtell brings all the attributes you want," Dackin said. "He's been a successful coach in the district, people in the community and coaches respect him and he has an outstanding relationship with booster clubs, and those are all important."

Reynoldsburg has had seven athletics directors in the past 13 years.

Purtell knows there will be challenges ahead. He also knows there is a solid foundation of quality athletes, programs and support.

"We have a good coaching staff in place here. I want to make each program grow," Purtell said. "We have a good tradition here and get good support from a lot of people."

There were some success stories last school year. The girls track team won a Division I state title for the second season in a row and the girls basketball team advanced to a Division I state semifinal for the first time in program history.

However, because of budget issues in the school district as the result of levy failures, the pay-to-participate fee was $500 per sport last school year, causing many athletes to not participate.

Reynoldsburg, which competes in the OCC-Ohio Division, did not win a league title in any sport last school year, which may be a direct reflection of the lack of depth in each program.

However, a 6.9-mill incremental operating levy passed last May and, as a result, fees have dropped to $240 per sport for this school year.

"It will be a challenge to get our numbers back," Purtell said. "All extra-curriculars are part of a kid's education. Clubs, band, everything makes them better citizens."

"We want to get the participation back up and get more kids involved," Dackin said. "We want to keep as many kids as possible participating. The more kids that are participating, the better off they will be, whether it's sports, chess club, the school newspaper or whatever."

Dackin said early numbers indicate participation in fall sports has increased from a year ago.

"I think the world of Jack. He's a hard worker and he'll do a great job," said Chris Rider, who has coached the boys basketball team the past 13 seasons and is in his fourth season as golf coach.

Purtell has compiled a 132-56 record during his tenure as girls basketball coach and has had success in the postseason, winning a regional title last season and advancing to a district final three other times. He plans to continue coaching.

"I've got great support," Purtell said. "My family is my rock, they support me with everything. I also have several people to lean on with the athletics office - Rich Ladowitz, Phil Kiser, Jacob Perkins and Mary Beth Chamblin, to name a few."

Purtell is on the same page with Dackin.

"As we get more financially secure, we need to get our participation numbers up and create depth. We'll have to work from the bottom up," he said.

Another challenge will come when the Summit Road high school building opens next August.

"The challenge will be how to stay as one as a school and as an athletic program," Purtell said. "There will be logistics to work out and two campuses to coordinate, but we'll work through the challenges."