Drew Wendol’s second stint as Hastings’ athletic director was announced during the Hastings School Board meeting on Aug. 21. He succeeds Jesse Merchant, who announced his departure earlier this month.
Wendol served as the district’s AD from 2002 to 2008, when it was still a stipend position. The AD position became a stand-alone job with the hiring of Adam Lodewick in 2012. Wendol has taken a leave of absence from his job as a PE instructor at Farragut Middle School to assume the AD’s job.
“I am proud to be their choice and excited about the future of Hastings sports,” Wendol said.
Merchant was slated to begin his new job, as assistant director of interscholastic athletics for Section I, today (Aug. 28).
“I have been a part of Hastings since 2000, and I know what it is going to take to make it great,” Wendol said. “I have colleagues that I can lean on. I know the kids, I know the parents, and I know the community. Together, we can make this work.”
Wendol must contend with the impact of Covid-19, as well as hiring a new varsity football coach and a new varsity girls’ basketball coach.
Joe Grosso, who resigned this month, rejuvenated a football program that needed a fresh perspective and optimism. After a two-win season last fall, he had more than 30 players signed on for summer workouts before the pandemic shut down activities.
The girls’ basketball team finished 16-7 last season, including a pair of wins over Irvington, and advanced to the Section I/Class B semifinals before losing to eventual champion Putnam Valley. Teeming with talent — Melanie Daley, Lindsay Drozd, and Paige Martin are all Division I recruits — the Yellow Jackets are expected to contend for a sectional crown again this winter.
“It’s a mess right now with Covid and not knowing what is going to happen,” Wendol said. “Never mind what is going to happen with sports; we don’t know what’s up with school — and I have to find a football coach right away and then a girls’ basketball coach.”
The fact that the athletic director position no longer carries the stipend tag was also a deciding factor for Wendol.
“Back when I was doing this the first time, I was teaching three PE classes and also coaching three teams, so it was really hard to be able to put the time into it that was necessary to do the job the right way,” Wendol said. “Now that it is full time, I can really dive into it.”
Wendol continued, “They are going to let me do my thing. They are going to trust my judgment on matters. I want to build these programs up and make them great.”
He added, “I am well-suited to multi-tasking from my lacrosse business — I run tournaments and I organize and run a number of youth programs and teams. I think that also makes me the man for the job.”
Wendol had accepted the head coaching position for the Putnam Valley varsity girls’ lacrosse team this past offseason. He has resigned that post as well.
Wendol played lacrosse at SUNY Cortland, where he is ranked 34th all-time in points scored (141), with 124 goals. He graduated in 1994.
In 2006, he brought the Hastings boys’ lacrosse program to life and then coached that team through the 2014 season. In 2015, he served as an assistant coach at the College of Mount St. Vincent in Riverdale. For 2016 and 2017, he was the head coach of that program, with a record of 3-26. In 2017, he returned to coach Hastings.
Wendol has amassed 127 wins as a high school coach, including 37 at Bronxville where he led the Broncos from 1997-2000. He notched his 100th career win in 2013, while at Hastings.
Wendol and his wife, Tammie, reside in Putnam Valley with their three children, Trevor, 13, Ella, 11, and Owen, 5.