Scott Seltzer had decided his time with the WPIAL was ending this summer after 13 years on the board and six as board president.
Or so he thought.
Seltzer, 55, had expected to retire within a few years as assistant superintendent at Chartiers Valley, so he considered now to be the right time to step away from the WPIAL. Those plans changed in April when Amy Scheuneman resigned after two years as WPIAL executive director.
Suddenly, the WPIAL needed a new leader.
“I could see that it was time to give the (board) presidency to somebody else,” Seltzer said, “but when Amy said, ‘Hey, I’ve got another job,’ that’s when I said, ‘Well, I’ve still got some things I think I can give to the league.’ ”
The board voted unanimously to hire Seltzer, who retired from Chartiers Valley and started his tenure as the top WPIAL administrator this month.
The 1985 Mohawk graduate was a three-sport athlete in high school as a point guard in basketball, a catcher in baseball and a tight end in football, the sport he later played at Westminster. There, he was part of an NAIA Division II national championship team in 1988.
What interested you in the executive director job?
Amy was doing a great job. She really was. She took over for Tim nicely, and Tim did amazing things as well while he was here. This job gives me an opportunity to help the students of the WPIAL and the students of the state to some extent.
What’s the biggest challenge the WPIAL is facing? Public vs. private? Officials shortage?
What’s different now from even a few years ago is individual wants. Everybody has something they want. They want to see this, they want to see that and they want it quickly. One of the biggest problems is just getting people to realize these are not problems that are easily solved. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take discussion. It’s going to take collaboration.
Why have “individual wants” become a problem?
I think we’re losing the focus on what high school athletics are about. They create an emotional and social opportunity for kids to really work on skills. Under the right guidance by coaches and principals and parents, you can really give kids a resilience. We worry so much about our children becoming champions. We want them to be champions. But we’re not really thinking about the development of that person to become a champion in life.
Are there any big misconceptions about the WPIAL?
The biggest misconception is how much control we really have. I think people view us almost like the NCAA, where we’re governing behaviors. We can get to some behaviors, but there are a lot of things parents call and want us to do that we just don’t have the power to do.
Also, 98% of the people involved in the WPIAL volunteer their time. Very few people get paid for running an event. Our committees don’t
get paid. They do it because they want to help kids and provide these venues.
Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .