Justin Crandall officially began his role of Whitewater High School Athletic Director Monday.

Crandall had worked at Port Edwards School District since 2012 and spent the last five years as the school’s athletic director.

“Back in Port Edwards I was an athletic director for six years,” Crandall said. “It probably took one year of being an AD up there for me to realize being a full-time AD and at a bigger school is what I wanted to do. So when I saw the Whitewater posting, obviously it being a bigger school, full-time AD position for the most part, and being back in this area, it was a no brainer for me.”

“To me, it was the right choice from the minute we started talking,” Whitewater High School principal Mike Lovenberg said. “Hearing him talk, hearing his enthusiasm, his knowledge base, his skillset. He was what we were looking for, it was very apparent.”

Crandall, a Fort Atkinson native, coached football and baseball while at Port Edwards. He also taught physical education, a role he will resume while at Whitewater.

“I can already tell a lot of the things I learned up there from being the AD is already transferred down here,” said Crandall, a 2011 graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. “It’s been a pleasant surprise how smooth this has gone so far.”

“He was teaching, coaching, running the athletic department there,” Lovenberg said. “Having that experience and a good skillset, he’s walking in with that background, that’s going to help him be very successful here.”

First on the list for the freshly minted new AD’s list is to start making connections.

“The first thing I want to do is to meet as many people as I can,” Crandall said. “I have a lot of meetings right away with fall coaches, just so I can get to know them, know how they run their programs and just watch what they do. The next step is to meet as many kids as I can.

“Goal No. 1 is getting to know everybody.”

Crandall noted that one of the strengths he feels like he brings to the table is being able to connect quickly with people.

“It’s never taken me long to jump in and meet new people and build relationships so we can work well together, especially with students,” Crandall said.

As far as long-term plans, Crandall said he first wants to just preserve how things are and see how everything runs.

However, Crandall does have some long projects in the back of his mind.

Crandall said he would like to look at ways to improve the overall quality of the athletics at Whitewater, which could include facility improvements.

Crandall is the third athletic director in Whitewater in as many years. Jim Pease, the last athletic director, stopped his duties in late May.

Crandall said he doesn’t know too much about how Pease’s tenure as athletic director ended, and noted he is happy to move on from it.

Along with being the AD, Pease coached football and baseball. Jason Bleck will be the new varsity football coach for the upcoming season, and Crandall said once the fall starts rolling, they’ll likely post a job posting for baseball.

“We’re very excited to have him on board,” Lovenberg said. “We’re excited about the school year and having Justin lead our athletic department.”

“I’m just extremely excited to be here,” Crandall said. “In the seven years I was at Port Edwards I never applied for a job. This is the only job I applied for. It’s not like I went looking for other jobs, this is where I want to be. This isn’t one of those deals where I want to be here for a couple years and look for something else, I want to be here. I got two kids, six and three, I want my youngest to graduate a Whippet in 15 years.”

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