Wheeler begins 2016 as new AD

Cole Basnight, sports editor

With a new year came a new athletic director. After 30 years, Kenny Meekins retired at the end of December and AVID teacher Alfie Wheeler replaced him. Wheeler seems to be liking his new job.

“It feels good,” Wheeler said. “We are just trying to get used to everything and my new schedule and the new responsibilities and just trying to get everything going in the right direction and making sure that I get myself off to a good start and getting my bearings about me.”

Wheeler started with Dare County Schools in the fall of 2011. He taught at Manteo Middle School for a year, and he came to MHS in the fall of 2012. In addition to teaching AVID, Wheeler has been the head baseball coach for the last three years. Before taking over as baseball head coach, he assisted Meekins for two years. Wheeler served as an assistant coach for boy’s soccer in 2014.

Wheeler is not a stranger to Manteo. He grew up here and graduated from MHS in 2005. After graduation, Wheeler attended High Point University. At HPU, he played baseball and studied physical education. Wanting to continue his education, Wheeler pursued a masters degree in physical education from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and graduated from the program in 2012.

“I came back after [college] and wanted to get involved in teaching. That’s what I got my degree in college, so I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a teacher, teach young people and give back too and it was good for me to come back to where I grew up, which was nice. I know a lot of people here and it was good because I always liked this place growing up and think it’s a great community for people to grow up in, but also to be an educator so that’s why I decided to come back,” Wheeler said.

As athletic director, Wheeler has already made some changes. He waived admission for students for two home basketball games. He set up the athletics website, www.manteoathletics.com, and he also runs the Remind 101 program which sends a text with sports scores to all who have signed up.

Wheeler has made the school and the athletic department his number one priority and has more plans for the future. One of his main goals is getting all of the sports teams to work together as one.

“I think sometimes people get caught up in this team and that team,” Wheeler said. “ [We need to] understand that, as an athletic department, we have all got to work together because we’re all one team, essentially.  [I am] really trying to push that to the coaches, but [we] also [need] to understand that it takes more than just an athletic director or coaches. It takes community members, it takes parents and it takes student-athletes. We all have to be together and achieve that one goal of having a successful athletic program, with students performing well on the fields and also in the classroom.”

Wheeler is settling into his new job and looking to build on what Meekins accomplished.

“He is doing a fantastic job,” principal John Luciano said. “He’s involving coaches in decision-making which, of course, is really good, [and] he’s looking at all of our policies regarding athletes and making some changes.”