Joe Shanks named Lynx interim AD

Contract runs through June 30 for longtime St. Edmond employee

Joe Shanks was the longtime head baseball coach at Fort Dodge St. Edmond where he led the Gaels to the 2009 Class 2A state title. He took over as the interim athletics director at Webster City High School earlier this week. Messenger file photo

WEBSTER CITY — A longtime Gael is now a member of the Lynx family.

Joe Shanks has been named the interim athletic director at Webster City High School. Approved by the Webster City School Board in December, Shanks officially took his seat at the head of the Lynx athletics table on Wednesday.

Shanks’ contract runs through June 30.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity and my family is excited for me also,” Shanks said. “The great positive is that I do know the area and the conference, and I know what athletics mean to the town of Webster City. They take a lot of pride in them.”

Shanks spent 21 years at Fort Dodge St. Edmond High School where he served as the Gaels’ athletic director. He also spent time as the Dean of Students, the transportation and facilities director, and two stints as the head baseball coach. He was at the helm in 2009 when St. Edmond captured the Class 2A state baseball championship.

Shanks takes over for Bob Howard, who retired as Webster City’s AD and resigned his post as the head football coach in November. Howard has stated that he would like to return as the head football coach and will apply for the position when it is advertised.

Webster City Superintendent Dr. Mandy Ross is equally excited about adding Shanks to the athletics department and says his experience and leadership style will be assets going forward.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have Joe serving as the interim athletic director and his background and experience helps with a smooth transition,” Dr. Ross said. “I really think Joe is going to serve our students well. He’s got a very calming effect on things and is just a wonderful addition.”

Dr. Ross says she expects a full-time activities director to be hired prior to the end of the school year. The position will be advertised within the next four to six weeks and it’s a job Shanks admitted he would be interested in.

“I would be interested in it past the interim,” he said. “I would like to pursue it.”

Hiring a head football coach will be one of the primary focuses of the WCHS athletics department in the coming months. Dr. Ross says the goal is to first fill the full-time activities director position and then allow that individual to play a part in the hiring of a football coach.

“That seems like the right process because those two positions are going to have to work closely together,” Dr. Ross said. “That permanent position will want to have a hand in that hiring process.”

For now, Shanks is interested in getting to know the coaches and learning what he can do to help better the experience for both the coaches and athletes.

Shanks is already familiar with several of the coaches or members of the WCHS staff. Head boys’ basketball coach Marty McKinney, head wrestling coach Chad Hisler, and head volleyball and softball coach Jess Howard all worked under Shanks early in their careers at St. Edmond, as did Pat Farley, the WCHS associate principal.

“It’s good getting back to see them again,” Shanks said. “I’m getting to know all the coaches and they’re getting to know me too. We had a brief meeting over the break to discuss a few things. I just let them know who I am and what I’m about.”