Head of School Eric Lombardi announced November 30 that Brian Phelps will be Fort Worth Country Day’s next Athletic Director. Phelps’s appointment follows a comprehensive national search for FWCD’s eighth Athletic Director. He succeeds Frank Gendusa, the School’s Athletic Director since 2007.
The search committee (listed at the bottom of the story) conducted 22 initial interviews via video conference. Of those candidates, six semifinalists flew in for on-campus, in-person interviews.
An Ohio native, Phelps comes to FWCD from The Seven Hills School in Cincinnati, the largest coeducational independent, non-church affiliated school in Ohio serving more than 1,000 students on two campuses from pre-K through grade 12. As Athletic Director at Seven Hills since 2012, Phelps has been a member of The Seven Hills School senior administrative team and has supervised and led a department of more than 100 coaches in four divisions, 22 varsity sports and 54 teams in grades 7-12. In addition to leaving his Seven Hills role, Phelps will be leaving Ohio having served three years as President of the 12-school Miami Valley Conference.
Phelps’s tenure at Seven Hills actually began in 1999, and, over the years, he served as Boys Basketball Varsity Assistant Coach (1999-2013), Head Varsity Baseball Coach (2000-12), Head Varsity Golf Coach (2004-08), Assistant Athletic Director (2000-12) and Department Chair of Physical Education and Health (2008-12). He currently serves as an Assistant Coach for the varsity girls basketball team.
During his time at the school, Phelps proudly oversaw growth in athletic participation (which is voluntary at Seven Hills) to more than 80 percent schoolwide. He also designed and planned the installation of two turf fields, a softball field and six additional tennis courts. Having helped design and make the fundraising case for the school’s new four-court gym, Phelps will participate in that building’s groundbreaking this spring. Impressive additions to his accomplishments include establishing a leadership training program; guiding the Athletic Department for the school’s first three state championship teams along with multiple individual state champions; authoring the ebook, Baseball - The Complete Season; and being nominated multiple times for the Southwest Ohio Athletic Director Association Meritorious Award and the Sportsmanship, Ethics and Integrity Award.
A graduate of The Summit Country Day School, also in Cincinnati, and then of the Community College of the Air Force in Lackland, Texas, Phelps earned an Associate Degree of Applied Science, Security Administration, while an E-4 Senior Airman in the United States Air Force from 1995-99. He served in Texas, New Jersey, Wyoming, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey. He continued his education at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education/Health (2002), and then a Master of Arts in Sports Administration (2005) from Xavier University in Cincinnati.
“I am eager to be a part of such a great community and to work alongside such talented leadership, staff, coaches and students,” Phelps shared. “ I look forward to building upon the great things that Coach Frank Gendusa and his staff have worked so hard to put in place. As the leader of the FWCD Athletic Department, I will be committed to assuring an athletic environment of excellence, while placing significant attention on superb sportsmanship. It is my goal that students are prepared to be successful on and off the field of play once they leave our athletic program and our school.”
Lombardi said: “Frank’s tenure as FWCD’s AD set a high bar. Brian brings the qualifications and the experience to build on those good works. We were seeking a leader of highest integrity who would champion our athletics program, yet be mindful of the wonderful variety of experiences our students have. We were seeking a hard-working educator and an accomplished communicator. We were seeking a leader who could reach the many constituencies with whom an AD works, from coaches to athletes, admission candidates to parents, from college-bound athletes to those who would not call themselves athletes, and from alumni to donors. While we had anticipated additional open forums with other candidates, it became clear through the process that Brian is who we were seeking. I would like to think we earned a leader like Brian by being who we are and by how we presented our school to our candidates, but I have to admit there was plenty of luck involved as well. The whole Phelps family will be wonderful additions to the Falcon family.”
Phelps is married to Dr. Allison Phelps, a sports medicine/orthopaedic (non-operating) physician at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine since 2013. She received her medical degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. The couple are the parents of three daughters, Madden (12), Meran (9) and Mason (6), and a son, Hawk (3). Phelps’s transition to FWCD will begin immediately and will continue with numerous visits to campus through the spring.
Phelps begins his tenure at Fort Worth Country Day on July 1, 2018. However, alongside Joe Breedlove ’78, Bill Arnold ’86, Colin Douglas ’06 and Eric Lombardi, he will immediately begin a search for FWCD’s next Varsity Head Football Coach, replacing Coach Gendusa.
Athletic Director Search Committee
Missi Kovachev ’89
Joe Breedlove ’78