ESCANABA - Nick Nolde is coming home.
Stressing that he has huge shoes to fill, Nolde, a 1998 Escanaba graduate is excited to take the position Dave Wilson has held for the last seven years.
Nolde was approved by the Escanaba School Board Monday night to fill the Athletic Director/Student Services Coordinator position at Escanaba High School.
"Dave Wilson and I have become really close over the years and I know I have some huge, huge shoes to fill. He did such a wonderful job," Nolde said Tuesday afternoon. "He told me what was going to happen, with him going back to the classroom and immediately I knew I wanted to apply for it. I'm still in a little shock that it's actually coming to fruition.
"It feels good to be coming home."
Nolde, who will take the job effective Aug. 4, previously held the same position at Bark River-Harris where he oversaw and transitioned from multiple athletic hirings, including the recent resignation of girls varsity basketball coach Joel Schultz and the hiring of Paul Anderson.
"It's somewhat bittersweet for me, because my co-workers and community were so good to me," Nolde said. "But I'm definitely excited. I have a soft spot for Escanaba and I've always felt an affiliation for this school and specifically the sports program.
"I can't stress enough the huge shoes I have to fill. I really want to maintain things Dave put in place and continue to be a strong face of the sports program here. I want to thank Bark River for everything they've done, Escanaba for giving me this opportunity and my family for being so supportive."
Nolde has also served as as an official for basketball and baseball across multiple divisions, something that intrigued the EHS administration. He also recently did work on the recent merging of the Central U.P. and Skyline conferences, which will take effect for the 2014-15 basketball seasons, and helped to add the sports of softball and baseball at Bark River-Harris, also taking effect in 2015.
"We're really excited to add NIck to our team. We fell his background in athletics and administration will help us out," said EHS principal Doug Leisenring in a statement, Tuesday. "While we're sad to see Dave go, I feel we have the best of both worlds. Dave will be right down the hall and Nick will be right next to me. We're excited to train him and get him started."
Scheduling also poses different challenges, specifically for football which has forced school's Escanaba and Gladstone's size to be somewhat creative. Gladstone has previously scheduled Roscommon and Detroit Country Day will appear on Escanaba's schedule for the second consecutive season.
Football scheduling is something all schools across the Upper Peninsula are discussing right now and the landscape may be changing. Nolde said he is prepared for upcoming changes. Gladstone recently applied for admission into the Mid-Peninsula Conference.
"I was happy when the schools the CUP and Skyline conferences got something done and I do think there needs to be some action taken across the board with conference realignment," Nolde said. "Times are changing as far as the number of kids at each school and competitive balance. There's even been some talk of the Division 8 schools getting together and forming a mega-conference. As far as the Great Northern Conference and how it will eventually affect Escanaba, it will have to be looked at. I would hate to lose Gladstone and we'd try to keep them as an opponent regardless, but realignment needs to be looked at across the board in many sports."