by Andrew Stark
Rocky River High School’s athletic department is undergoing big changes, and they begin at the top with athletics director Brandy Clemmer leaving to accept a job at Wingate University.
Next year, the Ravens will also have a new boys basketball coach and wrestling coaches; Jason Buzzard replaces Brandon Blalock as the Ravens basketball coach, while Andrew Cartee comes from Garinger to take over for wrestling coach Rex Mangiaracina.
Clemmer was instrumental in helping build the Rocky River athletic program and is the school’s only athletics director. She’s been at the post for two years but said her true passion is athletic training.
At Wingate, where Clemmer previously was an athletic trainer (2002-07), she will be the new assistant professor in athletic training. The move comes in conjunction with Clemmer graduating from Gardner-Webb University with a doctorate of education in curriculum and instruction last week.
“It was a tough decision because I have spent the last two years here, and it is really hard to leave,” Clemmer said.
Clemmer has two children and said that the time commitment of being an athletics director took away from family time and weighed into her decision.
“(My son) asked me if that meant we can never come back to games again, and I told him, ‘Of course not,’” Clemmer said. “We will wear our orange shirts and support the school. My kids have grown up at Rocky River, so (leaving) will be tough.”
Clemmer said she hopes to be a part of the selection committee to find her replacement.
Buzzard coached the boys JV basketball team this past season and has been the girls varsity basketball and boys tennis coach while at Rocky River. Before coming to Rocky River, Buzzard helped lead the Rockbridge County (Va.) boys basketball team to the Region III Division 3 semifinals. Before that, Buzzard worked at East Mecklenburg.
“Jason is a good coach who knows a lot of our kids already and has done a good job for us,” Clemmer said.
Mangiaracina will remain at Rocky River and teach social studies, while Blalock’s future at the school is uncertain.