Chris Fahim had never been a high school athletic director when he took the
position at Cardinal Stritch in 2004.
At the time, Fahim was also the Cardinals' head football coach and head girls track coach, and he taught social studies part time.
"It was kind of eye-opening," Fahim recalled. "Being at the school previously, for four years, I knew the people at the school. That aspect was easy. When it came to the ins and outs and the details that come along with being an athletic director, there was a learning curve there.
"I was named athletic director in August and I was coaching football, too. I was going by the seat of my pants that first year. My first year as athletic director was my last year as football coach, so after I stopped coaching football I was able to focus more on the athletic director position. My only coaching experience was at Stritch and I wanted to focus on the athletic department and get that in line and take that in the direction it needed to go."
In May, Fahim was named the new athletic director and assistant principal at Eastwood High School. He replaced Troy Slattman, who took a similar job at a high school in suburban Columbus.
Joe Gutilla is the new athletic director and head football coach at Cardinal Stritch.
Fahim's first football team at Stritch, in 2003, finished 0-10 but the Cardinals showed improvement the following year, going 4-6 under Fahim. He coached Stritch's girls track team for 10 seasons, from 2000-09, and the Cardinals claimed six Toledo Area Athletic Conference titles.
Fahim also coached two Division III state track champions in 2003 - Kathleen Bergman in the shot put and Chelsea Shelnick in the 300-meter hurdles.
"It was nice being able to turn that (football program) around for a time and get the ball rolling," Fahim said. "The following years they went 6-4 and 7-3 and made the playoffs. That was a nice accomplishment.
"Track is a great sport to coach. It was night and day going from football to girls track. The girls were great to work with. They gave me their all and they bought into the system we had. We were able to get the most out of them, and the results showed."
Fahim, 30, said he had been looking into getting a position in a public school system for a while. With more than 600 students in grades 9-12, Eastwood has double the number of students as Cardinal Stritch.
"When this (Eastwood AD) job came open, my wife, Tracy, saw it and said I should give it a try," Fahim said. "It's a great school district and it has great size. It was kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"Going from a private school to a public school, there is some financial incentive there as well. I'd been looking to move on. I had been at Stritch for 10 years and I felt it was right for a change. This was the right change at the right time.
"Stritch has a great group of kids and it's a great community that is very family oriented," he said. "It always felt like a family when you were there. That would be the biggest thing I will miss. Everyone at Eastwood has been great. They've accepted me into the community and I'm grateful for that."