New Hampton athletic director Mike Gavlik brings vast experience to position

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Tuesday, July 18, 2023 | 2:47 PM


Mike Gavlik has formed a straightforward philosophy during his two decades as a high school athletic director.

It’s all about the kids.

“At the end of the day, the decisions that are made should be about the student-athletes,” Hampton’s new AD said. “I think that applies across the board. As long as they are first and foremost, then I think your decisions can be pretty sound.”

Gavlik was hired July 10 to replace longtime Hampton athletic director Bill Cardone, who retired last month after 23 years.

The 47-year-old Gavlik arrives from Chartiers Valley, where he served as athletic director for the past four years at a school district very similar to Hampton in facilities and classification size. Prior to that, he was manager and athletic director for Pittsburgh’s City League for 17 years.

The Hampton school board voted unanimously to hire Gavlik with a prorated salary of $105,000, according to public records.

“I think Mike has a depth of experience that will help support the students at Hampton High School,” said Hampton principal Marguerite Imbarlina, who was part of the interview process. “His experience will help connect student-athletes to a wider range of resources. I’m excited to have him on board, for sure.”

Hampton girls basketball coach Tony Howard knows Gavlik and said the Talbots athletic department is in good hands. Gavlik coached Howard’s oldest son, Anthony, in McCandless Athletic Association youth baseball and their two younger sons play middle school football and baseball together.

“He was tremendous as a coach,” Howard said of Gavlik. “We couldn’t have been happier. … No. 1, he’s got an understanding of what it takes to be a committed athlete in a successful program. I think he will support the coaches, like (Cardone) did, and kind of just be a guide for us and just let the coaches coach. I think it will be a pretty smooth transition.

“I think Mike is just a genuine person. I think that’s an attribute that sometimes gets overlooked. But I think he’s going to be easy to talk to.”

Gavlik is active in the WPIAL, something he said “gives you the opportunity to give back a little more and just to become more involved with what you do.”

He is a member of the WPIAL boys and girls volleyball committee and recently was elected to the WPIAL Board of Directors for 2023-24.

Gavlik and his wife, Kelley, live in McCandless in the North Allegheny School District. They have four children — three sons and a daughter — ranging in age from 13 to 26. Gavlik said he was attracted to the Hampton AD job because he had seen the qualities of the school district’s student-athletes over the years.

“My sons have played a variety of different sports against Hampton, and it always appeared from where I live in McCandless as a very welcoming community,” he said. “I’ve sort of been on the outside looking in and when the opportunity came around, I thought it was a good chance to see if I could come in there and work in that school district and become an asset for them and help to continue to build on the successes that they’ve had.”

Said Imbarlina, “He understands the North Hills. Knowing the ADs in the North Hills and being able to have conversations with them when schedules change, when someone is looking for a scrimmage, he has that ability to make those connections that we need for our kids.”

As of mid-July, Gavlik still wasn’t officially on the job. He said July 14 that he hoped to be in his office and meet the coaches and student-athletes “very soon.”

“We’re still going through the transition process as I leave Char Valley,” he said.

Gavlik attended high school at West Mifflin and played baseball at Slippery Rock, where he earned his undergraduate degree. He earned a master’s degree in education from IUP, and immediately moved into teaching and coaching. He coached at South Park, West Mifflin and Penn State McKeesport, before applying for the opening as manager of athletics for the City League in 2003. He said his experience as a coach makes him better at his current job.

“I think it is important to be able to say you’ve walked that mile,” he said. “It helps to be able to be there for your coaches and know that I’ve experienced those things, too.”

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