This past summer, the Homer Central School District appointed Todd Lisi of Solvay Union Free School District to be their new Athletic Director after the position became available with Michael Carboine retiring after 17 years.
“It was very difficult to leave Solvay, but I’ve said many times that this is the only job and only place that I would have left for,” said Lisi.
Lisi spent most of his life at Solvay, with him being a student athlete and returned to teach physical education and served as an assistant principal for his last two years there. His wife who he has a three-year-old son with, currently works at Solvay as a Biology teacher.
Lisi served as a coach for multiple sports at every level (Modified, JV and Varsity) while at Solvay, such as football, track & field and baseball. He was the head coach of the varsity football team for the last three years.
“Teaching, coaching and being an assistant principal has prepared me for this position,” said Lisi. “I think the important topics of being an athletic director you really just learn day-to-day. You can never be prepared for what’s going to pop up; and when it comes to scheduling and other day-to-day things, it’s something kind of on-the-job training.”
Lisi received an education at Syracuse University, where he was a walk-on football player for three years (2002-2005). He was a defensive back at first and was then moved to wide receiver. He then went on to pursue his Master’s Degree on elementary education & special education at Le Moyne college.
Being a head coach at Solvay for the past few years, there were many times that Lisi went head-to-head with Homer.
“I knew Homer really well from an opponent’s standpoint,” said Lisi. “Solvay and Homer played each other on a lot of different sports. So when I was the head Football coach at Solvay, we played Homer every year and I just had the most respect for the football program and the community.”
Even though Lisi has many ideas and goals for the Homer athletics program, he does not want to make premature changes on such a well established program.
“My first year, I’ve been doing a lot of observing,” added Lisi. “So I did not come in with a changing mindset. I didn’t want to come in and make changes where they weren’t needed. It would be wrong of me to come into a well established athletics program and start making changes. So I’ve been doing a lot of observing, a lot of conversations with the coaches, hearing the coaches on what is going well or what they might need. So the most important thing for me, is that I have to be a really good listener in hearing the coaches, players, parents and trying to see what I can enhance in an already well established athletics program.”
Every job has its own challenges and Todd admits that his biggest challenge is that he is not from Homer and therefore is not familiar with the different values and traditions the community holds. However, he is eager to learn.
“I have to make sure that I understand and honor those values and traditions that Homer has for not only the athletics program, but for the community as well,” Lisi said. “So I’m always asking questions. I ask a lot of teachers, I ask a lot of coaches and I ask a lot of to parents. I want to know what’s important to the community and what they value. I want to make sure that I become part of the community. So I think the most challenging piece is not being impulsive or trying to try something or do something without understanding what’s important to the community. I want to make sure that any decision I make, I involve all stakeholders and that it’s a decision that is best for the students, schools and the community.
“This is the happiest that I’ve ever been on a professional standpoint. I just genuinely love coming into work everyday. Every day there is something new and exciting. I’m part of a community that really cherishes and holds their athletics program to a high standard and I want to be a part of that and I want to enhance that. So every day coming into the office, I think to myself, ‘this is important because it’s important to the entire community.’ So the pressure is high, but we have a fantastic coaching staff and it’s fun working with them. They make the job enjoyable.”