Originally published Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 06:06a.m.

CHINO VALLEY — Marty Campitelli officially succeeded the departed Pete Jelovic as Chino Valley athletic director/assistant principal on July 1, and he has spent nearly the past two weeks getting accustomed to his new role.

Jelovic, who resigned as athletic director at Chino Valley in March but remained on campus through the spring after seven years on the job, announced on June 12 that he had accepted the A.D./assistant principal’s position at Centennial High School in Peoria. Since late June, Campitelli’s been learning on the fly.

“I feel like I’ve been doing this for about three months now,” Campitelli, a school counselor at Chino Valley since 2013 who spent a short stint as baseball coach, said Wednesday afternoon. “Moving from a counseling position to pretty much a leadership/management position has been the biggest adjustment so far for me.”

Second-year Chino Valley principal Heidi Wolf hired Campitelli after she and an in-house committee had conducted two separate interviews with him in the late winter and early spring.

“He had the background in that he had been a baseball coach, and that with his counseling experience we felt that he would work well with students, faculty and with parents,” Wolf said. “We’re happy to have Marty as our athletic director. I’m looking forward to seeing things that he comes up with that he would like to improve upon [in the department] and just help our school.”

Campitelli said in June that his first order of business was to discuss proper recruitment of student-athletes with his department’s coaches. He added that he doesn’t want his coaches seeking out students in other districts and/or out of state, including non-incoming freshmen before they have registered at the high school.

When Campitelli first arrived on the Chino Valley campus, in 2013, he spent two seasons as varsity baseball coach (2014 and 2015).

“In the past, we’ve had some issues with recruitment and just kind of coaches not knowing exactly what they needed to do or who they needed to talk to, or how to even talk to parents,” Campitelli said. “So, I’m in the process of getting guidance from the AIA [Arizona Interscholastic Association] right now just to make sure that some of these mistakes aren’t repeated and we can avoid that altogether.”

Campitelli added that he wants to build relationships with his coaches “and to let them know that I’m here for them and I have their back, and kind of move forward.” He will keep an open-door policy for his coaches to discuss any concerns with him, which he hopes will develop better cohesiveness.

“The last couple years there’s been some dissension,” he said.

“It’s an internal thing with coaches. It didn’t create the best atmosphere. I’ve started to talk to the coaches about the right kind of language to use when talking about other sports – make it about the athletic program and not about their specific sport.”

Chino Valley baseball coach Mark Middleton, who will embark on his fourth season as head coach in 2019, said Jelovic will be missed but that Campitelli has what it takes to be successful. In 2014 and 2015, Chino Valley’s baseball team won back-to-back section titles under him. Campitelli was section coach of the year in 2014.

“Marty Campitelli’s going to do a phenomenal job,” added Middleton, who served as Campitelli’s assistant coach. “I know that he cares about that school and he cares about the kids.”

New girls soccer field?

In addition to his work with coaches, Campitelli said his department’s in the beginning stages of building a new girls’ soccer field. The land rests next to an

old baseball practice infield and is situated in between the current baseball field and the softball field to the east.

“It was a project that was kind of started about a year ago and kind of fell flat,” Campitelli added. “So, I’m trying to revive that. Unfortunately, for a school our size, space is an issue. We have programs that would like to practice year-round that we just don’t have the space for.”

Crews had graded the field, cleared away overgrown weeds and installed a sprinkler system about a year ago, he said. If the new field opens, it would allow the varsity girls’ soccer team, the defending 2A state tournament runner-up (2017), to stop using the baseball field’s outfield for practices. The baseball team would then not have to share its field during fall ball.

In the coming years, Campitelli said generating more money for Chino Valley’s athletic department will remain a priority.

Wolf said, “It would be nice to have more booster groups that would help our athletics.”

However, she praised the parents in the football program for their recent efforts in starting a booster club.

“We’re in a unique position because we’re not a really small school, yet we’re not a big school,” Campitelli added.

Campitelli seems excited for the challenge in front of him, however.

“I’ve already dove right into it,” he said. “It’s going to be a learning curve, for sure, but I’m looking forward to it. This is a job that I’ve always wanted – a job in leadership and athletics. I feel pretty good about it.”

Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.