Nick Gill always had a vision for athletic programs.
As the former girls' soccer coach at Friends School, Gill wanted to run the program like a professional organization, providing everything the players needed to be successful. That meant personally washing and drying their practice gear and game kits every day. Gill also made sure his players had the opportunity to compete under the lights at Loyola University so they could experience a Division I college atmosphere.
Gill's success with running the Friends program, along with his work in the school's admissions department, helped him land the athletic director position at Mercy High School this year. At the age of 29, he's the youngest athletic director in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland.
"When it was all said and done, I wanted my players to look back and miss playing soccer for my program," Gill said. "Then, one day, I decided that if given the opportunity, I want to take the same professional approach and apply it on a much larger scale, to an entire athletic program. Then, the next thing you know, the AD position at Mercy High School became available, and I was lucky enough to get the job."
One of the biggest challenges for Gill at Mercy was getting acclimated to a new environment. Friends was the first school for which he worked. As a result, there was a learning curve as far as getting to know the culture at Mercy.
A major influence for Gil is Greg Whitley, the current athletic director at Friends. Whitley provided Gill the opportunity to coach soccer and learn the intricacies of being a successful leader.
"Greg mentored me and helped me achieve the vision that I had for my soccer program while I was at Friends," Gill said. "I want to be able to give my coaches at Mercy the support Greg gave me while I was coaching at Friends. He believed in my ability and gave me the confidence to keep moving my program forward."
Whitley said hard work, dedication and attention to detail are some of Gill's biggest attributes. Gill is the type of leader who is able to get every inch of ability out of his players, he said.
"He knows how to communicate and articulate his philosophy to parents and students so that everyone is on the same page," Whitley said. "He's a winner."
Gill also credits Andy Moore at Calvert Hall as one of his mentors. Gill played soccer for Moore at Calvert Hall, and that's where he honed his leadership skills. Moore, who no longer coaches the Cardinals, is the head of Calvert Hall's McMullen Scholars Program.
"He made me captain my senior year, and to this day, going undefeated and winning the MIAA championship for coach Moore is one of my top memories, in terms of athletics," Gill said. "Coach Moore then gave me my first taste of coaching when he gave me the opportunity to come back and serve as an assistant coach for him. The wonderful experience I had playing and coaching for Dr. Moore has pushed me to want to give that same experience to student-athletes that I now come in contact with."
Gill's long-term vision for Mercy is for the athletic program to mirror the school's core values, while creating a professional environment that gives student-athletes an experience they will always remember. Mercy already has a rich history of athletics, and he hopes to add to its strong foundation.
"I want to get our brand out there and have middle schoolers know that playing sports at Mercy High School will offer them a fantastic high school experience," Gill said. "Another rewarding experience has been working with Mary Ella Marion, Mercy's longtime athletic director. Mary Ella is now the dean of students at Mercy, and not a week goes by when I am not picking her brain about something. She is a legend in the athletic world, and I am very privileged to have her on campus. She has a wealth of knowledge."