KENWOOD - Moeller High School has gone away from the conventional model of hiring an athletic director by dipping into the business world to bring one of their own home.
Justin Bayer, a Moeller graduate with a successful business, fund-raising and education background, is the school's athletic director. The school on Montgomery Road made it official with a Monday morning press conference.
The 1997 Moeller graduate who ran cross country and track directed the school's campus ministry and retreats after graduating from college. He said he is "honored, humbled, and incredibly excited to serve as the next athletic director for Moeller High School."
He was a 1997 Man of Moeller, Gold Shield, and Joe Quinn Greater Catholic League Scholar-Athlete award winner.
Bayer has most recently been a startup entrepreneur, launching Welcome to College in 2010. The business helps institutions in the recruitment and enrollment process. Bayer started the company in Dayton then relocated to New Orleans in 2015.
"The minute I saw the job description, I couldn’t think of another opportunity that matches my professional experiences, natural aptitudes and passions," Bayer said. "I’m honored to work alongside a committed administration team who is focused on making Moeller the best high school in the country, humbled to be the next leader of a proud legacy of impacting the lives of past, current, and future Men of Moeller, and incredibly excited to continue to build a championship culture."
Moeller President Marshall Hyzdu described Bayer as a passionate servant leader with a love for Moeller who exemplifies the school's "hold-the-door" value of putting others first.
Bayer does not come from an athletic background, something the school wanted.
In filling the position, Moeller modeled the approach used by universities and colleges and consulted with the AD's at the University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, University of Louisville, Indiana University and others who work in higher education athletic departments. At many schools, the athletic directors come from law and business backgrounds.
"We are shifting the model from the traditional AD who was focused on scheduling games, attending all games, setting up for games and more, and focusing on building a first-class culture, enhancing the fan experience and advancing the school’s mission," Hyzdu said.
Bayer's focus at Moeller was described in the school's release:
- Building a first-class culture in every aspect of Moeller athletic, from facilities to how athletes carry themselves within the school and the community.
- Enhancing the fan experience with a customer service approach to game days by focusing on how alumni and the broader community experience Moeller.
- Advancement. Moeller has an unrivaled brand nationally, which provides donors the opportunity to invest in an area they are most passionate about, which in this case is athletics.
After earning a business management bachelor's degree from the University of Dayton and a master's degree in higher education administration from the University of Vermont, Bayer returned to Moeller as director of campus ministry and retreats (2001-2003) after graduating from UD.
He then went to work at both of his alma maters, serving as assistant director of admissions at the University of Vermont and director of development at the University of Dayton, where he raised more than $2 million.
His Welcome to College company offers a software platform and consulting services to help higher education institutions optimize the campus visit experience. The company’s Ambassador Management Software is being used by more than 50 colleges across the United States and Canada, including schools like Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, LSU, Penn State, Tulane, and the University of North Carolina.
Bayer will remain on the Welcome to College Board of Directors but hand over day-to-day management of the company to his brother, Kevin Bayer, 1999 Moeller alum.
"When you consider what we were looking for in an AD, Justin is the guy," Hyzdu said. "He's never been a head coach, but that's the old model. The new model is bringing in experienced business people and lawyers to run the athletic department, and that is the approach we are taking."
Bayer goals outlined in Moeller's release are:
- Strive for academic excellence for all athletes;
- Develop a championship culture within each athletic program;
- Provide dynamic athletic experiences for all stakeholders.
- Create an annual athletic giving club.
Bayer said after 20 years of gratifying professional and personal experiences in Vermont, Dayton and New Orleans, he is looking forward to returning to Moeller and Cincinnati with his wife, Megan, and their three children, Rosie, 16, Julia, 13, and Joey, 10.
"The Moeller family is real, and it is special," Bayer said. "The Marianist values of faith, community and service combined with the people who embody these values and live those out on a daily basis create an incredible educational environment. If you want to attend a high school where you feel fully alive every day, then attend Moeller High School."
Bayer replaces Mike Asbeck whom Moeller parted ways with in February. Hyzdu had been serving as interim AD prior to the hiring of Bayer.