FISHERSVILLE — Wilson Memorial has found its new girls cross county head coach, and the Green Hornets only had to look a few miles to the east to find her.
Wilson athletic director Craig Flesher announced Tuesday that Julie Stevens has accepted the position, replacing longtime head coach Gary Kessler, who retired earlier this year.
Stevens is no stranger to the area high school cross country circuit as she coached the boys and girls teams at Waynesboro High School since 2008. She also coached the Kate Collins Middle School teams during that span. In addition, Stevens spent the last four years as the Little Giants head coach for the girls outdoor track team.
And when Stevens wasn’t coaching, she was the athletic director at Kate Collins the last six years. That made for a full plate, which meant time away from the family.
The move up U.S. 250 to Fishersville will go a long way in restoring family time.
“My two daughters both like to run, and taking the Wilson job will help me be on their schedules better,” said Stevens, who will be a physical education teacher at Wilson Middle School where her oldest daughter begins seventh grade in a few weeks. The youngest is a second-grader at Hugh K. Cassell Elementary.
“With Waynesboro and Wilson being in different districts, and my AD duties at Kate Collins, I missed a lot of the things my daughters were doing,” Stevens said. “The Wilson job affords me the chance to spend more time with the family, which hasn’t been the case over the last six years.”
And Stevens, who won a prestigious Dawbarn Award during the 2017-18 school year, is also excited about more free time for herself.
“Hopefully now I can get in more of my own running,” she said.
Stevens knows the high expectations she is inheriting in taking over for Kessler.
“I am fully aware of the big shoes I have to fill,” she said. “Coach Kessler set the bar high. I have a big job ahead of me to continue the tradition he built at Wilson.”
The new head coach is anxious to get started.
“I will get a chance to meet the girls next week,” she said. “I know a lot of faces, if not their names, from seeing them at cross country and track meets. I am excited for this new opportunity.”