Moeller introduces 1997 Crusader grad Justin Bayer as their new athletic director
KENWOOD – After scouring through 60 applicants from all over the country, Moeller High School has gone away from the conventional model of hiring an athletic director by dipping into the business world to bring one of their own home.
Justin Bayer, a Moeller graduate with a successful business, fund-raising and education background, is the school’s athletic director. The school on Montgomery Road made it official with a Monday morning press conference.
The 1997 Moeller graduate who ran cross country and track directed the school’s campus ministry and retreats after graduating from college has returned after recently running a successful business in New Orleans.
He was a 1997 Man of Moeller, Gold Shield, and Joe Quinn Greater Catholic League Scholar-Athlete award winner.
Bayer has most recently been a startup entrepreneur, launching Welcome to College in 2010. The business helps institutions in the recruitment and enrollment process. Bayer started the company in Dayton then relocated to New Orleans in 2015.
“The minute I saw the job description, I couldn’t think of another opportunity that matches my professional experiences, natural aptitudes and passions,” Bayer said. “I’m honored to work alongside a committed administration team who is focused on making Moeller the best high school in the country, humbled to be the next leader of a proud legacy of impacting the lives of past, current, and future Men of Moeller, and incredibly excited to continue to build a championship culture.”
Moeller President Marshall Hyzdu described Bayer as a passionate servant leader with a love for Moeller who exemplifies the school’s “hold-the-door” value of putting others first.
Bayer does not come from an athletic background, something the school wanted.
In filling the position, Moeller modeled the approach used by universities and colleges and consulted with the athletic directors at the University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, University of Louisville, Indiana University and others who work in higher education athletic departments. At many schools, the athletic directors come from varied backgrounds.
“If you look at universities, the days of hiring old coaches are starting to dwindle,” Hyzdu said. “If you look at the university model, they are executives, lawyers and come from different industries because of what the duties are. I’m really excited about Justin and what he brings. His transferable skills are incredible.”
Bayer’s focus at Moeller was described in the school’s release:
- Building a first-class culture in every aspect of Moeller athletic, from facilities to how athletes carry themselves within the school and the community.
- Enhancing the fan experience with a customer service approach to game days by focusing on how alumni and the broader community experience Moeller.
- Advancement. Moeller has an unrivaled brand nationally, which provides donors the opportunity to invest in an area they are most passionate about, which in this case is athletics.
After earning a business management bachelor’s degree from the University of Dayton and a master’s degree in higher education administration from the University of Vermont, Bayer returned to Moeller as director of campus ministry and retreats (2001-2003) after graduating from UD.
He then went to work at both of his alma maters, serving as assistant director of admissions at the University of Vermont and director of development at the University of Dayton, where he raised more than $2 million.
Years ago in Vermont, he experienced the reach of Moeller High School while wearing a Crusaders shirt when he was moving.
“In Burlington, Vermont I was wearing a Moeller shirt while moving into my apartment,” Bayer said. “A man stops me carrying some boxes and comes over because of my Moeller shirt. It was a Moeller alum and one of my first links leaving this city was that connection. The tradition of what this country knows about Moeller athletics is remarkable. To be able to continue to work with everybody and carry this on is tremendous.”
Bayer’s Welcome to College company offers a software platform and consulting services to help higher education institutions optimize the campus visit experience. The company’s Ambassador Management Software is being used by more than 50 colleges across the United States and Canada, including schools like Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, LSU, Penn State, Tulane, and the University of North Carolina.
With high schools becoming more competitive in attracting students Hyzdu and Moeller’s administrators were intrigued with Bayer’s skill-set.
“The customer service side of the campus visit is enormous,” Bayer said. “It’s one of the most critical decisions in the admission process.”
Bayer will remain on the Welcome to College Board of Directors but hand over day-to-day management of the company to his brother, Kevin Bayer, 1999 Moeller alum.
Bayer goals outlined in Moeller’s release are:
- Strive for academic excellence for all athletes;
- Develop a championship culture within each athletic program;
- Provide dynamic athletic experiences for all stakeholders.
- Create an annual athletic giving club.
Bayer said after 20 years of gratifying professional and personal experiences in Vermont, Dayton and New Orleans, he is looking forward to returning to Moeller and Cincinnati with his wife, Megan, and their three children, Rosie, 16, Julia, 13, and Joey, 10.
Several times during his press conference, he became emotional over his return. He credited his mother who took on extra work so her son could have a private, Catholic education. Another notable memory was competing as a Crusader cross country runner.
“My freshman year I was running varsity so I didn’t win any races,” Bayer said. “But I ran in the freshman GCL championship. It was at Rapid Run Park. I had a huge lead and my Dad pulled this video out the other day. I had the lead and a guy from Elder was coming at me at the end. My Dad was filming and yelling, ‘Be the man Justin; be the man!’ I was able to outkick him and won the freshman GCL championship (tearing up). The moment was very special and I feel like it propelled and gave me some confidence in my leadership and other things I went on to do at Moeller.”
Officially, Bayer now has an opportunity to be the man.
He replaces Mike Asbeck whom Moeller parted ways with in February. Hyzdu had been serving as interim AD prior to the hiring of Bayer.