Norwell turns to former coach as new AD Kelby Weybright has been at the school since 1995.

Former Norwell High School baseball coach Kelby Weybright says he missed the umpires.

“People can’t believe that,” Weybright said. “But we really do have some great umpires and officials in the Fort Wayne area, and I’m looking forward to that aspect and working with our coaches and athletes. It’ll be a nice change.”

Those umpires might be happier to see Weybright coming toward them next spring than they were back in the day. This time around, Weybright will be in the role of athletic director – the guy with their paychecks.

After several years as Norwell assistant principal and dean of students, Weybright moves into the athletic director role at the school, taking over for Eric Morgan, who remains at the school as a teacher.

“It’s a big shift, but I was looking for a new challenge and a new opportunity and so was Eric,” Weybright said. “He wanted to go back and do some coaching and get back in the classroom. I thought if I didn’t take this opportunity now, it might not open up again.”

Weybright came to Norwell in 1995 and is most known in the community for his success with the baseball program, leading the Knights to two state championships and a runnerup title before he retired as coach after the 2012 season.

He is still involved in youth coaching, and his oldest son, Garrett, is one of the top players on the Knights under coach Andy McClain. All of Weybright’s children will be in high school next fall.

Weybright brings a passion for Norwell sports to his new position.

“We want to make sure we’re a competitive program on the field and the court and that our programs represent not only our school, but our community in the right manner,” he said. “You look around and see that win-at-all-costs mentality from a lot of people, and I don’t know that that’s what we’re trying to do.

“We’ve been blessed to have some really good athletes come through who have made it to the highest level in sports,” he continued. “But we all know 99½ percent of the kids go on to something else. We want to put out great programs and be competitive state-wide, but we don’t want to lose focus that we’re trying to develop young men and women of strong character.”

Weybright has been able to transition to his new position alongside Morgan and the school has recently hired two Norwell alums as head coaches: Shane Dunwiddie in boys tennis and Katie Kenline in volleyball.

Dunwiddie played first base for Weybright when the team won the 2003 Class 3A baseball state title. Weybright said he believes the football program will continue to make strides as Josh Gerber enters his second season as coach. The Knights have lost 19 of 20 games over the last two games after winning a sectional in 2014.

“Josh does a great job,” Weybright said. “The kids are excited and we have good numbers coming in for workouts in the summer. It’s going in the right direction. He’s determined to make the effort to see it successful again. We know it’s a program that has had success and it’s going to take a little bit of time. We also know it’ll take a lot of effort and Josh is up to that task.”

Weybright said Gerber and boys basketball coach Mike McBride have worked together to help build the right mentality for summer workout programs for their athletes.

Weybright is excited about being the one behind the scenes helping to make the athletic program run smoothly.

“This is a good place for me and my family,” he said. “I’m excited about this new chapter. All three of my kids will be in high school so they know if I can’t find workers, they’ll be put to work.” <br>

<i> For more on the sporting world, follow Reggie Hayes on Twitter at reggiehayes1. </i>


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)