Mr. John Gerdes is in his first year at Clearwater Central Catholic High School, but he is no stranger to athletics or Catholic education. Mr. Gerdes has worked at every level of athletics, including three years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 20 years at the University of South Florida, and five years as the director of athletics at St. Petersburg Catholic High School.
Mr. Gerdes grew up one of six children in St. Petersburg, where all six graduated from St. Jude School and four graduated from St. Petersburg Catholic. He went on to Purdue University, where as a student he worked for three years in the athletic department, and earned a degree in public relations in 1984.
Blessed and excited! That is the only way to describe how I feel about joining Clearwater Central Catholic High School as the director of athletics this year. Until now an “outsider,” I could always see what an outstanding program CCC maintained year in and year out. A program that enjoys the levels of success that CCC displays is not by accident. It is clearly through a shared effort and sense of teamwork by administrators, coaches, students, families, friends and alumni. From my perspective, all these constituencies have been clicking together to push CCC to great achievement.
In assuming the role of director of athletics at a Christ-centered school, I have reflected on John’s Gospel story of John the Baptist telling those who had been following him, “He must increase; I must decrease.” In everything we do, we should be like John the Baptist and realize that Christ takes center stage and is the Way to God.
It’s also a lesson that serves us well on a “local” scale in that CCC must increase and we must decrease. To truly reach our fullest and brightest, we must commit ourselves to the mission of the school. We are so much more than an individual. We are each a vital part of a larger community and we should ask ourselves every day how we are improving the community.
I look forward to doing my part in this objective and developing lasting relationships with the many constituencies of CCC. I wish all of you God’s abundant blessing.
Director of Athletics