Appointment of Director of Athletics

Thursday, August 24th, 2017 - Posted in All District News District Communications Latest Announcements

On August 23, 2017, the Piedmont Unified School District announced the selection of Joe Welsh, who served until recently as the Head Coach for the Piedmont High School Girls’ Varsity Water Polo team, as the new Director of Athletics for Piedmont High School and Millennium High School.  Mr. Welsh has extensive coaching experience, as well as an impressive background in both business and government service.

Mr. Welsh has coached water polo in San Diego and throughout the East Bay. In addition to coaching the Piedmont High School Girls’ Varsity team; he led a local 16-and-under club team to a top-ten Northern California finish and an appearance in the national Junior Olympics in Southern California.  He also serves as a coach for USA Water Polo’s Olympic Development Program, running clinics and helping to evaluate and select young athletes for the Junior National water polo teams.

Most recently, Mr. Welsh served as a Foreign Service Officer for the US Department of State in Washington, DC, Oslo, Norway, and Lomé, Togo.  In Togo, Mr. Welsh served as head of Embassy operations, managing over 100 employees and a $7 million budget.  In this role, he received Meritorious Honors for exceptional integrity, and was a finalist for the US State Department Worldwide Operations Officer of the year.  Mr. Welsh also served as Acting Public Affairs Officer, working with local media and promoting democracy and economic development.  In addition to his diplomatic service, he taught business classes at the local university.

In Norway, Mr. Welsh served as Deputy Consul, leading an office that processed visas and supported American citizens abroad. In that capacity, he worked with senior intelligence officials and represented the US government at cultural heritage and diplomatic events.

Prior to his diplomatic career, Mr. Welsh helped start a sports marketing agency for The Active Network, working with Fortune 500 companies to market amateur athletic events, teams, and leagues.  Also, he served as a sales executive for IBM, where he earned President’s Club honors and graduated from IBM’s global sales school.

Mr. Welsh attended UC San Diego, where he was a four-year starter and All-American in water polo, and received an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.  In high school, he was an All-American in water polo at the Menlo School on the peninsula.

PHS Principal Adam Littlefield and MHS Principal Shannon Fierro coordinated the recruitment and selection process.  Administrators, members of the PHS Athletic Boosters, coaching staff, the City of Piedmont’s Recreation Director, and several student athletes participated in the interviews.

“Joe has a wonderful balance of passion for sports and the strong business and management skills necessary to effectively lead our athletics department,” said MHS Principal Shannon Fierro.  “He impressed the interview panel with his multi-faceted background and commitment to high school athletics.”

PHS Principal Adam Littlefield also commented, “Joe has demonstrated success in all his previous endeavors. His attitude, skills, and knowledge will serve as the foundation for great work at Piedmont High School.”

The District’s Director of Athletics is responsible for: recruiting, hiring, supervising, and evaluating 175 coaches; developing and overseeing the Athletic Department budget; monitoring student eligibility; serving as the school representative of the Western Alameda County Conference; partnering with the PHS Athletic Boosters; coordinating team schedules, transportation, equipment, and supplies for 49 teams; and ensuring a safe and supportive program for over 500 student athletes.  The Director of Athletics, which is a full-time administrative position funded jointly by the District and the Piedmont Education Foundation, requires a coaching certification.  The position was broadly advertised, and there were 25 applicants.

“Mr. Welsh is an excellent leader for our student-athletes, coaches, and Piedmont Community,” Superintendent Randall Booker commented.  “I’m thrilled to have him part of the team, and look forward to working with him as participation and interest in athletics continues to grow across Piedmont.”

Mr. Welsh will start in this position on September 5, 2017, at an annual salary of $91,687.  As part of the transition to his new responsibilities as the Athletic Director, he will shift from Head Coach to Assistant Coach for the Varsity Girls’ Water Polo Team. Genievieve Weed, who was team captain for the Cal women’s team last year and is one of the best players in the country, will become Head Coach.

“Athletics is a vital experience in the lives of our high school students, and I’m highly motivated to make a positive difference in our student athletes’ lives,” Mr. Welsh said.  “I look forward to partnering and collaborating with the extended Piedmont community to support our students, continue our proud athletic tradition and instill positive life values in our student athletes.”

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