WADSWORTH — Growing up just outside Findlay gave Brad Musgrave the feeling of comfort when he visited a city with small-town atmosphere.
Though he was happy as athletic director at Napoleon for the past 11 years, the opportunity to lead a Division I school with an intense sense of community was too much to ignore.
As such, Musgrave will officially take the Grizzlies’ athletic director reigns Aug. 1. He replaces Rich Berlin, who will become assistant principal at the middle school.
“I started studying their website and was really taken back because there seemed to be so much school spirit and community pride,” Musgrave said. “When I saw that school building, I was blown away (with it) and obviously with the new turf at the (Art Wright Memorial) stadium and everything.
“Everybody I’ve met, they’ve been warm and inviting. It seems like a really good fit.”
The 47-year-old hails from Arcadia, a small town just northeast of Findlay. The big-time basketball fan first heard of Wadsworth when he attended the 1981 state boys basketball tournament.
The Grizzlies became the darling of that event, where they stunned Cleveland John Adams 59-57 before falling to Dayton Roth in the Class AAA title game.
“I watched Wadsworth’s team play, and when you’re a young kid, you start picking teams and rooting for them,” he said. “The teams I rooted for in Class A, being a Northwestern Ohio boy, was the Kalida Wildcats, and in AA the state champion was the Napoleon Wildcats and in AAA, obviously, the state runner-up was the Wadsworth Grizzlies.
“I coached against Kalida and I was the athletic director at Napoleon, so it was a real neat twist of fate that all of that seemed to take place. That’s what peaked my interest.”
Musgrave graduated from University of Findlay, where he obtained bachelor degrees in physical education and health and special education before coaching basketball at his alma mater. He then stopped briefly at Findlay before taking the AD job at Napoleon.
The Wildcats were consistently competitive under Musgrave, with the girls cross country team winning a 2003 state title. The basketball and football teams have won Northern Lakes League titles within the past two years.
Napoleon is the smallest school in the highly competitive NLL, which also includes Whitehouse Anthony Wayne, Bowling Green, Maumee, Sylvania Northview, Perrysburg, Sylvania Southview and Holland Springfield.
Now, Musgrave will take over the biggest school in the Suburban League that sports a tradition-rich resume and nearly sparkling-new facilities across the board.
“I guess I’ve never been the one that’s always had the target on your back, but I like that aspect of it. That means you’re good,” he said. “Wadsworth as a community is a lot like Napoleon. It’s twice as big, but it’s got that small-town feel and everybody is really nice and welcoming. It terms of the job part of it, I’m looking forward to it.”
Musgrave’s opportunity came after Berlin decided the time was right to return to a familiar position.
The 48-year-old Doylestown native was the athletic director and assistant principal at his alma mater, Chippewa, from 1998-2007.
When Pepper Bates retired — a move that is sweeping through Ohio administrators and creating an unusual amount of openings — he jumped at the chance to fill her void.
“One of my goals was to become an assistant principal before my career is over,” Berlin said. “The athletic director was just one step toward that goal.”
That being said, the down-to-earth Berlin will miss the thrill of competition.
“I tell people that all the time — I really enjoy what I do,” he said. “Athletics are important in our community, and I’ve met a lot of great people and spent a lot of time with our kids, coaches and our community.
“That’s what I’ll miss the most — all of those people who get excited and support athletics.”
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.