Taking over as North Mecklenburg High’s athletics director isn’t just a change in careers for Marc Calderone.
It’s more like a homecoming.
“I’m coming home, so to speak,” Calderone said. “I call it meant to be, kind of like destiny. I look back at my career, and I’ve worked at some great schools. … But when I go back and look at my career as a coach, some of the greatest memories of my coaching career are at North Meck.”
Calderone will take over for interim athletics director Leroy Holden beginning Nov. 7. That date may move back, depending on how well Mooresville High’s boys’ soccer team – where Calderone currently coaches – performs in the N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A state playoffs, which began Oct. 29.
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“They’ve really been holding this position for me,” Calderone said. “They honored my commitment to Mooresville’s soccer team to finish coaching them. The coaches (at North Mecklenburg) have really stepped in and really helped out a lot until I could get there.
“That says a lot about the school. We’re a family. We’ve always been a family, and I’ve never lost contact with some of the coaches and Coach Holden over the years. Heck, Coach Holden and I would talk on the phone every couple weeks.”
If Holden – who spent 38 years as coach and athletics director at North Meck until his retirement in 2009 – is considered tops among those who have coached the Vikings’ athletic programs, then Calderone could be No. 2.
Between 1996-2008, Calderone coached North Mecklenburg’s boys’ and girls’ soccer teams to a combined 326 wins – 222 in 12 seasons with the boys’ team, 104 in six seasons with the girls’ – 16 conference championships (10 boys, six girls), and three NCHSAA 4A championship game appearances with the boys’ teams in 1998, 2005 and 2006.
After leaving North Mecklenburg at the end of the 2007-2008 school year, Calderone made coaching stops at Lexington and Northwest Guilford before returning to the area, taking over as Mooresville High’s boys’ and girls’ coach in 2012.
That’s also when Calderone began thinking about making a career change, getting out of coaching and into the administrative side of athletics.
“I had been working on my master’s to become an athletics director, and I got that last year,” Calderone said. “I knew last year, within a year or maybe two, I would be out of coaching and going the athletics director route.
“It became kind of a passion for me. I had worked under Coach Holden for a long time. He’s been a mentor, and I have the utmost respect for him. That’s what I wanted to do, to do what he did for me, and maybe do that for other coaches.”
The first athletics director position that Calderone applied for was at Mooresville after Barkley Marsh retired last year. That position went to Kevin Wilson, who had taken over for Holden as North Mecklenburg’s athletics director in 2009 and had been a coach at North Meck for a decade before that.
“In hindsight, it became a great opportunity for me,” Calderone said. “I made the commitment to coach Mooresville’s soccer team for at least two years … but when the North Meck position came open again, I knew then I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
“I made this comment years ago, but I told people that I would finish my coaching career at North Meck. I’ve moved around a little since then … but it was destiny for me to get back there. It was fate. But this is definitely going to be my last move.”