Being on campus at Olympia High since the school’s second year of operation, Kevin McElveen has become a sort of historian for the Titans athletic programs by default.
He can recall most of the school’s signature moments on the playing field and rattle off names of Olympia alumni who have gone on to careers in big-time college athletics and the pros.
There’s a certain passion McElveen has for the Titans, and it’s something he plans to lean on in his new role as Olympia’s athletic director. Olympia Principal Guy Swenson announced McElveen as the new athletic director July 11, replacing Aaron Crawford, whose contract was not renewed.
"We’ve got such a good reputation as an academic school, and I think sometimes people don’t understand what a great athletic program we’ve had here at Olympia."
“I’m highly invested in this school — I know what this school can do, I know the community pretty well and I’m very prideful for our kids,” McElveen said. “We’ve got such a good reputation as an academic school, and I think sometimes people don’t understand what a great athletic program we’ve had here at Olympia.”
After working at the school for 16 years as a teacher and coach of several sports — most recently leading the boys golf team since 2006 — McElveen now has his fingers in every sport on campus.
He came to campus from Apopka High in 2002 to help coach the Titans upstart football program and also coached boys and girls basketball and girls flag football in those early years. He is a regular attendee at all of the Titans home games, and his daughter, Emma, is a standout setter for the Olympia volleyball team — which made it to the state semifinals in 2017.
McElveen’s familiarity with so many of Olympia’s programs across the board has set him apart from the candidates who sought the position.
“Kevin is an experienced coach and longtime teacher at Olympia,” Swenson said in a statement. “He knows our community well and will bring a wealth of experience to the role. I am excited to move in a new direction.”
Moving into his new role means relinquishing previous roles as the coach of the Titans’ talented boys golf program and as an American government teacher — a bit of a bittersweet element to this new opportunity.
“I’m going to miss (teaching) — I really am,” he said. “I enjoy talking, and I enjoy the relationships with the kids. When you’re teaching something like government, I’ve learned as much from the kids over the years as they’ve hopefully learned from me.”
In addition to hiring his replacement for the boys golf program, McElveen also will be seeking a girls soccer coach as one of his first orders of business. He has been touching base with all of his coaches on campus and said he is excited about the returning staff.
“We’ve got good people in these positions,” McElveen said.
Of course, one sport that is about to be top-of-mind is varsity football. Travis Gabriel took over the program this spring, after serving as the defensive coordinator at Boone High, and the Titans new athletic director said he likes what he has seen so far from the football program’s new head coach.
“Travis is the guy to get us back to where we used to be (in football),” McElveen said. “A football program kind of sways the school year. If we can get success out there on that field, I think it really helps with school spirit and everything else.”
McElveen brings some ideas to his new role, too, envisioning facility upgrades in the coming years and building upon the school’s sponsor relationships.
Most of all, though, the longtime Titan envisions having a hall of fame in place in time for the school’s 20th anniversary in 2021 — one that can celebrate the outstanding individuals that have come through the halls and an athletics program that has four state championships to its credit in its young history.
“There’s a lot to really toot our horn about,” McElveen said.