Add another two schools to the expanding Southwestern Conference.
Conference commissioner Mike McCarthy announced Tuesday that Midview and Lakewood, members of the West Shore Conference, will join the SWC for the 2015-16 school year. Midview’s switch had been rumored for a while.
Avon previously announced its intention to join the SWC for the 2015-16 school year, also leaving the WSC.
There are currently eight schools in the SWC, but Berea and Midpark are merging for 2013-14. This means the SWC will operate as a 10-school conference in 2015 for the first time since its inception in 1937.
Midview athletic director Creg Jantz said he had to put his school in the best position possible.
“Times change and things change,” Jantz said. “We will miss our relationships with the players, fans, coaches and administrators we worked with in the West Shore Conference, but we felt it was beneficial to move to a conference with similar schools of similar sizes all in a closer geographic location.”
In 2015-16 the Southwestern Conference member schools will be Amherst, Avon, Avon Lake, Berea-Midpark, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Lakewood, Midview, North Olmsted, Olmsted Falls and Westlake.
“The addition of these two fine schools adds to the long-term stability of the conference,” McCarthy said. “These schools both have fine reputations for their academics, co-curricular and athletic programs.
“In addition, both of these schools have outstanding physical facilities and provide a major positive addition to the conference.”
Midview football coach Bill Albright thinks the move will benefit his program.
“It’s a good move for us, one we needed to make,” he said. “We had some great rivalries and great relationships within the WSC, but with the new regions the state is putting in place we felt we had to be proactive and put ourselves into the best situation possible.”
Albright stressed the role the Midview community played in making the school attractive to the SWC. Midview opened its state-of-the-art FieldTurf athletic complex, Ross Field, in 2012, as well as guaranteeing a bit of long-term financial stability with the passing of its latest tax levy.
“You also have to look at the hard work of the student body and the community to get this last levy passed,” Albright said “That was really critical as far as the future of our school and its athletic programs are concerned. Honestly, if we don’t pass that levy I don’t think the Southwestern Conference takes a second look at us.”
Despite moving out of the same conference, there is one rivalry Albright hopes can be kept alive on the football field – the annual battle with North Ridgeville.
“We would love to keep North Ridgeville on our schedule, and you never know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ve played Amherst the second week for a long time, now that’s a conference game, so the second week is open. We would love to keep that rivalry alive because it’s always been great for the players and fans.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.