In his second year teaching in the Licking Heights Local School District, Nick McIlwain had a revelation.

In his second year teaching in the Licking Heights Local School District, Nick McIlwain had a revelation.

He was approached by longtime athletics director Don Henne about being his assistant during Henne's final year with the district.

McIlwain served as the assistant athletics director for the high school and the middle school athletics director in the 2007-08 school year.

He had found his calling.

On June 17, the 1999 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School was named athletics director at Johnstown-Monroe High School.

"I really enjoyed (administration) because it was a way to work with the district on a much greater scale," said McIlwain, who also will serve as assistant principal at Johnstown. "I told one of the (Licking Heights) board members how much fun I was having and he told me that I should go back and get my master's (degree) so I could become an AD."

McIlwain, who received his master's in educational leadership from the University of Cincinnati last December, has taught history at Cincinnati Finneytown (2003-06) as well as Licking Heights (2006-11). He also was the Hornets varsity golf coach last season and an assistant girls basketball coach in 2006-07 and 2009-10.

"Mr. McIlwain led a strong field of candidates through the application and interview process - in large part based on a well-rounded set of experiences in education and athletics," Johnstown superintendent Damien Bawn said.

"His dedication to being an essential member of a learning organization - along with an obvious understanding of the value and challenge inherent in maintaining a solid program of extracurricular, athletic activities - was solidly evidenced through the enthusiasm and the sense of drive that Mr. McIlwain displayed during face-to-face interview sessions."

McIlwain replaces Mike Carter, whose contract as athletics director and dean of students at the high school was not renewed.

"I want to make sure everyone is on the same page and everyone has the same goals," McIlwain said. "I'm the new person in town and I will be getting everyone up to speed on what we want. There is a great group of people already there (at Johnstown) and the support has been terrific. I look forward to working with (Johnstown principal) Mr. (Kim) Jakeway and others to get things up and going."

McIlwain earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Wilmington College, where he played two seasons of baseball and two seasons of golf.

"I played baseball my first two seasons until I had a shoulder injury," said McIlwain, who is giving up coaching to work exclusively as an administrator. "After that, I played golf in my final two years because I always wanted to play golf and this gave me the chance to still be competitive."

McIlwain and his wife, Becky, live in New Albany.

"I look forward to working with the people and building on the great foundation of athletics as well as the academic experience, and I'm glad to have a chance to take both to new heights," McIlwain said.

"The sky's the limit with both this district and the athletics program."