AD Joyner Retires

During his nine years, Joyner oversaw four state championships, the formation of the WF Athletics Hall of Fame and the addition of three new sports

Siena McGarrigle, Editor in Chief

Coach Mike Joyner is set to retire from his position as athletic director after nine years of dedication to the Athletic department. As he prepares to move forward in his career, Joyner reflects on the athletic legacy he has built and looks towards his future at Kerr-Vance Academy.  

In the nine years that Joyner has been in charge, the athletic department underwent substantial development and has seen both improvement and success.

“From when I got here, there are some sports that have gradually become more successful as time has worn on. A number of things that we offer, stunt, men and women’s lacrosse, were not going when I got here. The general competitiveness of the Northern Athletic Conference, being in that conference in certain sports and the rivalries that are there that we might not have had when we were in the Cap-8 is definitely something,” Joyner said.

Through the growth of the athletic department and his experience as a coach, Joyner learned important lessons that led him to be successful in his profession.

“You just got to out-work people. I think that’s been my goal as an athletic director and a coach. You got to work hard; you got to be determined to be successful. It doesn’t come easy, it doesn’t come handed to you, and you have to make a lot of sacrifices to be in jobs like this,” Joyner said.

In light of his departure, Joyner thinks back to the most memorable moments throughout his coaching career.

“As a baseball coach, two things stand out the most. One, winning the conference championship back in 2018, and two, having a first round draft pick, Khalil Watson, last year was definitely a memorable moment,” Joyner said. “I try not to categorize moments because all of them are special, but those are two that I can look back on and be really proud of.”

While he has done much in his time as an athletic director and coach, Joyner considers the number of athletes he has helped to earn scholarships throughout the years to be his greatest achievement.

“There’s been an upwards of 60 of them in the 20 some-odd years I have coached baseball. So, I hope they would look back and be glad and thankful for that help,” Joyner said. 

Though Joyner is excited for what the future holds, he will miss his role as head coach of the baseball team.

Coaching baseball has had a profound impact on Joyner’s life. Leaving his baseball team behind will be the most challenging part of retiring because “when you do something that is a part of your heart and soul for over 25 years, it is hard just to walk away from it,” Joyner said.

Joyner describes the various reactions he received from his baseball team after announcing his retirement.

“Some were a little upset, not with me, but just with the situation. You are never going to make everybody happy. Some of them looked at it as an opportunity to play for someone different and to make a different impression, but there’s always the emotions that go into it,” Joyner said. “Some were really taken aback by it, but with my assistant coach being the new interim coach, they really have not missed a beat. He was very involved anyway, so our baseball team this year should be extremely good.”

Although leaving our school after many years of devotion will be hard, Joyner is eager to take on a role at Kerr-Vance Academy.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge because it is a smaller athletic department: it’s a little less hectic. I’m looking forward to building new relationships with people there. I’ve already started doing some things even though I’m not officially there yet. Just having more time to do things with my wife and my son. My son plays college baseball, and I would have more time to go to his games because there’s not as many sports to deal with and not as many days and nights to put in. I want to stay goal oriented with it, but I’m looking forward to a little bit of a slow down with it, too,” Joyner said.

Joyner hopes that whoever takes his place will carry on the legacy of the athletic department, as well as the athletic hall of fame. He leaves the future athletic director a piece of advice from his time on the job.

“Be personable, be visible, make sure your coaches have what they need and make sure you have the right people in place for the program. If it isnt working out, don’t be afraid to make changes,” Joyner said. “First and foremost, be there for the kids, be available for them. You are not gonna know all of them, we have around 700 athletes, but at the same time, know as many of them as you can, have those relationships with them, and everything should work out. The big thing is, know your coaches, know their style, know what they need, and know how to guide them so we can maintain the success we have had.”

Before he retires and enters the next phase of his career, Joyner shares one last message with the students.

“Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Know whatever you got for your future, whatever it takes for you to get there, make sure you put hard work, determination and sacrifice into whatever you want to do. Opportunities are there, and you can do it. People come from all different walks of life and become successful, so don’t ever give up on what you want your dreams to be.”