Within minutes of an e-mail sent by Interim Head of School Nat Reynolds to the faculty Dec. 16, Shalhevet’s halls and classrooms were buzzing with excitement: Flava is back!
Coach Ronnie “Flava” Winbush is expected to take over as Athletic Director on Jan. 2., right before classes resume after winter break. He’ll replace current A.D. and former tennis pro David Paradzik, who is leaving to become Director of Tennis for the city of Manhattan Beach.
As Flava walked through the halls of Shalhevet Dec. 16, students greeted him with high-fives and exclamations of “Congratulations!” and “Good to have you back!”
With nearly five years of experience with the Firehawks’ athletic program, he is perfectly suited to foster Shalhevet’s rising sports teams.
The 6–foot-8 former pro basketball player (on teams in Mexico and Germany) ran the Lower Schools’ P.E. programs for six years before the board closed them last spring. This year he’s been coaching Girls Basketball.
More to the point, the entire student body and faculty can vouch for his unwavering energy and enthusiasm for Shalhevet and athletics in general, and for his ability to motivate all kinds of students and inspire them to do their very best. Past years’ varsity basketball players especially enjoyed years of Flava’s guidance, instruction, and jokes as head coach.
Flava lives, eats and breathes sports—students can always discuss last night’s big games with him, whether played by the Firehawk or the Lakers.
Without question, this is what it is needed take Firehawk sports to a new level of competitiveness, organization and stature.
To his credit, Mr. Paradzik undoubtedly brought much needed structure and consistency to the Firehawks. He worked tirelessly to schedule games around holidays and our impossible schedule, and brought the first-ever home game to our campus on the year-old Sport Court. Faculty members reported an enjoyable rapport with the athletic department.
Flava is naturally set up to not only continue in Paradzik’s footsteps, but also to blaze a new trail for Shalhevet’s athletic program. Heck, there might even be as much interest as in Debate, which just saw 55 students – more than a third of the high school – try out for just 13 vacancies on the Penn Model Congress team. This is what good leadership brings to extra-curriculars at Shalhevet.
Leadership is undeniably the name of the game with every extra-curricular, and with the entire school backing Athletic-Director-to-be, the sky is the limit. Or, in Flava’s case, maybe the limit is at 6-feet-8-inches. Same thing.