As signups are about to begin for McMinnville youth T-ball, baseball, and softball, a new face will be organizing activities.
“I am happy to be here,” said Kevin Roberts, who was recently hired as athletic coordinator for the city of McMinnville. “I felt like it was time to get back into my chosen profession, which is recreation. I interviewed here in McMinnville, as well as a few other places. McMinnville was the one I felt would be the best fit for me. After a five-year hiatus, I am looking forward to this.”
Roberts’ first day was Monday, but he has approximately 21 years in administrative recreation. Raised in Florida he moved to North Carolina and coached football at Wingate University.
“I decided that I didn’t want to coach football anymore because of the time constraints,” he said. “My wife and I ended up in Murfreesboro. I attended MTSU and received my master’s degree in administrative recreation.”
After working in Maryland in its recreation department for several years, Roberts moved to Cheltenham Township, Pa., and spent 12 years as its recreation superintendent before deciding to return to Tennessee.
“We didn’t like the environment our kids were growing up in, so we decided we wanted to move back to Tennessee,” he said. “We didn’t have any recreational opportunities at that time, so my wife and I worked for the state of Tennessee in family assistance for the last five years. We did eligibility determination for food stamps, Medicaid.”
When opportunities in his field began to open, Roberts wanted the one available in McMinnville.
“Everybody I’ve met here is really nice,” said Roberts. “I feel I can come in and be a good fit. I have a personality where I can get along well with people. If you have a passion for what you are doing, I think that really reflects in your work. Like I told someone today, I had been working in a food stamp office for five years. It was a job that wasn’t my profession and I didn’t love, but today I have spent the entire day talking about recreation and it was like a day off for me. It isn’t a job when it’s something you enjoy doing.”
No drastic changes will be made to the existing athletic program. Roberts says McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord and assistant director Justin Scott have done a great job.
“I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes,” said Roberts, when asked about possible changes. “I am doing my historical data gathering now to see what’s been done, what was successful, and what could be improved on. I know Scott and Justin have done a great job with the program so far. I just want to be able to add to them.”
There will be changes, but subtle ones.
“I think any program, no matter who has started it, including myself, has room for improvement,” said Roberts. “I like to tinker with programs. Find some new things. Maybe find something that hasn’t been done here before and introduce it. I think with places like McMinnville, you can’t do it all at once. You have to be gradual in your approach. I think there are a lot of improvements we will be making as a department and the public will be happy with it.”
This is the first athletic coordinator for the department. Director McCord says the position was created to oversee expanding athletic opportunities.
“The recreation department is growing,” said McCord. “Current programs are expanding and we are creating new opportunities we haven’t had in the past. Co-ed volleyball is growing. We have brought back adult indoor soccer. We are offering flag football. We are offering ultimate Frisbee. We needed an athletic coordinator.”
Baseball, softball and T-ball signups start Feb. 3 and end Feb. 26: Tuesdays 4-7 p.m., Thursdays 4-7 p.m., and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Practice begins March 23, while games begin April 27. Warren County Babe Ruth Association season: Draft and practice begins in March and games begin in April.
Sign up at McMinnville Civic Center. Call for more information at 473-1212.