New athletic director hopes to improve sports programs


Ellen Gantenbein

Amy Cardarelle started as Athletic Director in February to replace Mark Sanders. Sanders resigned from the position to be with family in Florida. Cardarelle hopes to increase participation and improve facilities during her time at South.

Ellen Gantenbein, Sports Editor

“She’s really encouraging and open to communication with students,” reflected senior Ava Skrade when asked about South’s newest addition – Athletic Director Amy Cardarelle.

Cardarelle was hired at the beginning of February when former Athletic Director Mark Sanders made the decision to leave South to be with family in Florida.

Although Cardarelle is new to the position, she is not new to South. Cardarelle coached soccer at South for over fifteen years, taking a short break while her daughter was attending South, and took the post back up last fall.

Familiarity with South is a benefit in students’ minds. “[Cardarelle brings] enthusiasm and just background knowledge of the school and all the different sports and programs, and how they work. And the kids, she knows how they are, especially since she had a daughter who went here too,” commented Skrade.

When Cardarelle first considered applying for the position, this was one of the pulls to South for her. “It’s the one coaching place I would come back to and it’s the one place I would come back to do this kind of a job because I love the students. I know what the students are like here, and I just really love working with city kids,” Cardarelle noted.

Now that she’s here at South, students hope her prior experience with students will be an asset to her future roles working with students. “I hope that it’s still a really close knit relationship, where she’s a face and you know who she is and you know who the athletic director is so if you have any questions that you would be able to find her,” commented junior Jocelyn Cruz. “I hope she makes students more willing to participate in sports. Raise the current amount of students who are currently participating.”

Cardarelle shared this sentiment, “My goal is to get the coaching staff to make sure that everybody is welcome to come and play and get the word out and I think that’s been a challenge.”

Cardarelle brings with her years of coaching experience, as well as experience being an athlete herself. Cardarelle played soccer in college at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she earned a degree in Education. Before coaching at South she coached soccer at Edina, Blake and Minnetonka. Her coaching experience is not limited to Soccer, she has also coached hockey, badminton and gymnastics.

Although Cardarelle doesn’t have much experience in the administrative side of athletics, the learning curve is manageable. “Learning some of the administrative ins and outs is what I’m trying to get a hold of right now. Figuring out the budgets and how everything gets paid, and out of what funds does this come out of and that come out of and all the paper work. It’s a lot more paper work than I’m used to from coaching,” Cardarelle said.

Athletic Secretary Lynn Heldt and Assistant Athletic Director Tony Stewart have been a big help. “It’s been a challenge. Without Tony and Lynn I can’t even imagine doing it without them and all their knowledge of how it was done. It’s a challenge, but it’s ok, we’re good, we’re maintaining the ship,” Cardarelle said.

“She’s very easy to work with and very into the team concept that it takes all three of us to make this office work. And she appreciates what me and [Tony] know,” noted Heldt.

Cardarelle has big goals for South athletics. “The long term goals are to of course increase participation and bringing back city sports to the respectability… I would like to be more competitive not just in the conference level but in the metro area, our nonconference level as well, so we can begin to play you know the top tier teams and compete with them,” noted Cardarelle. “A lot of it is what I’m trying to work with the principal and the foundation and getting the good athletic kids that live in this neighborhood to stay in the school system so that they come to South and we get some of that good talent base.”

Another goal is to improve South’s sports facilities, namely the field. Just this past year South’s weight room got a big upgrade, and Cardarelle hopes that trend continues into South’s other sports facilities.

Plans are in the works to possibly close the street between South and Les Barnard field in order to create a larger area for an upgraded field and track, complete with lights and a press box. Plans are still in their preliminary stages. The school district will need to negotiate with the City of Minneapolis in order to get clearance, and raise adequate funds.

“The long term is to make the facilities better. Whether it’s getting the lights and the press box and all the plans that we’re trying to lay out and raise the money for, it’s something I’d really like to see done. I think it will help to build all that back up too and make us a respectable city program,” added Cardarelle.

Although Cardarelle has only been at South for a short period, Heldt is already confident in her ability to be a positive influence. “She’s very easy to work with. And I think very caring about the kids and understanding the issues we have. And understanding that we have a lot of kids who have problems, and aren’t eating, and all that that goes into making a good athlete, which is hard to do when there are other outstanding factors that don’t make their life too easy,” concluded Heldt.