New AD Weatherwax ushering in new era of Bears’ athletics
Updated as of Thursday, July 18, 2019 11:23 PM
Nebraska native looking to put down roots in Prescott Valley
PRESCOTT VALLEY — Clairinda Weatherwax may have held various positions in five different states during her teaching, coaching and administrative career, but it appears the new athletic director at Bradshaw Mountain may have finally found a home.
The 44-year-old Nebraska native arrived on campus earlier this month ready to tackle her new gig with all the vigor and excitement of someone just starting their career out of college.
Weatherwax’s journey prior to Prescott Valley saw stops in Ohio, Wyoming and Kansas after she earned her bachelor’s degree in recreational management from Arizona State in 1998.
Three master’s degrees and nearly 20 years of coaching experience later, Weatherwax was ready to jump into administration.
With that, she expects her coaching experience will help a great deal as she begins her new venture as a Bear.
“I know what coaches have to go through. I know what’s expected of them. I know what they have to do to get kids into their program, just the relationships that they build,” Weatherwax said in an interview earlier this week. “I started coaching at 19. … By having that experience, it gives me a level playing ground with the coaches that are here now.”
Weatherwax takes over for former athletic director Tony Miller, who after two years on the job resigned in last spring.
Although she is the third director for Bears athletics in the past four years, she hopes to quickly put down roots and give her family the same experience she had growing up in Kearney, Nebraska.
“I have a 6-year-old daughter, [Maeleigh], so my goal for her … I grew up with my parents in one town. We never moved. I went all the way through high school and graduated there, and that’s what I want for my daughter,” Weatherwax said. “I want her to start in first grade and end here graduating from Bradshaw Mountain. That’s my goal, that’s what I’m hoping for.
Bradshaw Mountain football head coach Chuck Moller was on the hiring committee that thoroughly vetted 12 different applications and interviewed five people for the job this past spring.
During the process, Moller was impressed with Weatherwax’s focus of making not just one or two sports successful, but all sports.
“No. 1, she wanted to be successful, but not at the cost of one sport or taking money away from anyone. [She wants] all the sports to be successful and grow equally,” Moller said in a phone interview with the Courier on Thursday.
Moller added that if one sport is struggling, whether it's on the field or raising money, Weatherwax feels everyone should chip in and do what’s best for the kids.
“It was a wide open and realistic approach,” Moller said. “Over time, we can solve a lot of problems if we get together.”
First-year Bradshaw Mountain volleyball coach Karrie Platt said she hasn’t spent much time with Weatherwax, but is already impressed.
“I think she’s going to be so valuable to our school and athletic program. She reached out long before she got here to each of the coaches and let us know a little bit about her,” Platt said in a phone interview Thursday with the Courier.
Platt added she can see already that Weatherwax is an “advocate for coaches.”
“She’s looking out for me. She’s available any time of the day. I know she’s invested and excited to be here. It’s more than just a job for her,” Platt said.
Weatherwax hopes that “investment” pays off as she hopes to instill a “get involved” approach with the students on campus.
“To me, athletics, activities, anything that can keep them at the high school level and graduate is one of my top things. I want them to be active, and be a part of it,” Weatherwax said. “Once they are a part of something, they are more likely to stay and continue on. Just giving them that exposure, that desire to be at the high school to graduate.”
And her overall goal for student athletes? That’s easy, she said.
“The first thing is what a great person that they are. That they handle things well, they are always polite, that’s very important. And to understand that they are a student. For me, it’s always the student-athlete. They are a student first. I want them to get good grades. I want them to be productive,” Weatherwax said. “Overall, when someone sees one of our kids, they are pretty proud and are like, ‘That’s a Bears kid.’”
Brian M. Bergner Jr. is news/sports editor for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.