Hayti names Craig Rodgers new athletic director
Craig Rodgers is no stranger to Hayti Indians athletics.
Since arriving on the scene to teach at Hayti in 2016 Rodgers has coached girls basketball, track and field, and served as an assistant varsity football coach.
Rodgers recently learned he would have the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities at Hayti. The Hayti Board of Education named Rodgers its new athletic director at its regularly scheduled meeting in May.
“It’s a lifelong dream,” Rodgers said of being hired as athletic director. “It’s great to be able to serve my community and school system in a positive way. Obtaining this position is one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. I feel like I can impact our athletic program from a different angle now and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.”
Get your Semoball fix in one daily email
Rodgers is a 2010 graduate of Hayti. He played baseball and basketball in high school before obtaining a degree in education at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau.
Rodgers says he will continue to serve as the head varsity girls basketball coach, head middle school girls basketball coach, and the track and field coach next school year.
“I’ve got a full plate,” he said. “I want to make sure my coaches have what they need to perform their job at a high level. We’ve always had hard-working coaches. We want to extend that and take it to the next level and treat our athletic program like a college program. We want to do all that we can to get our kids to college.”
Rodgers said one short-term goal he has as athletic director is reestablishing the baseball program. Hayti has not fielded a varsity baseball team since 2018.
“As of now we are planning on starting a junior high baseball program,” Rodgers said. “We may possibly have a junior varsity team as well but it will depend on how many kids we have that want to play baseball. But if we can get our kids more sports to participate in it is always a great thing. If those kids can get on the baseball field and have success at the junior high level maybe we can move that to the high school level in a couple of years.”
Rodgers is also organizing plans for summer athletics to take place if restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.
“We’ve gone over a few scenarios with our administration about the summer,” he said. “I think we’ve got a pretty good plan going forward. We are just waiting for the higher authorities to allow activities to begin. We want to have small groups and just focus on skill work in volleyball, basketball, football, and weight lifting. If we can focus on skill work that would help us out a great deal here at Hayti so we hope we get the OK to proceed with that.”
Rodgers takes over as athletic director for Bart Chance who is departing Hayti to teach at Malden High School next school year.
“I’d like to thank our school district, administrators, and board members,” Rodgers said. “They’ve supported me with the girls basketball program from the beginning. We’ve got a great board of education and administration. Our administrators, especially Dominique Robinson, have been great at helping me transition to an administrative role and teaching me the day-to-day responsibilities. I could go on and on and thank a lot of people. But anyone that has the heart for Hayti and wants to see us do well we appreciate.”