Francisco new Cass AD

Published 8:26 am Thursday, July 22, 2004

By Staff
(First in a two-part series.)
By SCOTT NOVAK / Vigilant/Argus
CASSOPOLIS -- The Cassopolis Board of Education recently hired former Notre Dame running back Hiawatha Francisco as its new athletic director and dean of students.
Francisco replaces former athletic director Vance Stratton, whose position at Ross Beatty High School was eliminated, and Pete Anderson, who was the dean of students.
Francisco, 39, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1987.
Cassopolis selected Francisco, who they nearly hired back in November of 2003 as a behavioral specialist at Sam Adams Elementary School, out of 20 candidates.
Fancisco is excited about his new position and a chance to help restore the pride in the Rangers' programs.
He has spent most of this summer working on a parent/student handbook, a project that arose from some incidents during athletic events last year.
Francisco said that Cassopolis needs to reach down into its feeder programs and strengthen them. He noted that the community is hopefully starting a youth soccer league in the near future which would help its high school program which was started just a few years ago.
He already knows of one high school player who is moving to Edwardsburg because the soccer program is stronger there.
Francisco is no stranger to southwestern lower Michigan.
As a member of the Notre Dame football team, he recalls coming to Diamond Lake a few times before the season would get under way.
Cassopolis will once again host a football jamboree with six area schools participating and up to 18 teams.
Francisco has also organized a Meet the Coach night on Aug. 10.
He said that it was originally going to be Meet the Team night, but since some of the coaches were not sure just who would be on their squads by that point, it developed into a Meet the Coach night.
And of course, Port-A-Pit chicken will be available before the Meet the Coach night.
The Cassopolis Athletic Boosters will provide cole slaw and a drink for free according to Francisco.