WILMINGTON — For the third straight year, Wilmington Pop Warner has a new League President.
And the new director of the program, which is over 60 years old, is a familiar face, Joe McCauley.
McCauley has been the Pop Warner Football Director for each of the past six years and also started up the popular Middle School program last year. After Bill Cavanaugh decided to step down after one year as president, McCauley shifted gears and was named President, while, Shawn Maguire, a longtime WPW coach, has moved in to run the middle school team.
With another season of youth football and cheerleading underway with practices down at the Glen Road Fields, McCauley was asked about how the transition is going to this point.
"The role so far is demanding, but I have been involved and want to see both youth football and cheer succeed,"he said. "I really enjoy doing this. I started the middle school program from scratch last year and with Pop Warner already a running program, I have been able to step right into role without much of a learning curve. I have used my past experience as football director so now starting another program made that transition much easier."
McCauley — whose daughter Chloe went through WPW and is now a Division 1 collegiate freshman cheerleader at the University of New Hampshire — was asked about his everyday duties as the president.
"I am responsible for the operations of the program," he explained. "It’s starts with registration of all the players. Picking coaches and make sure both football and cheerleading coaches are certified to coach the kids. I make sure all the rosters are complete with National Pop Warner and all the paper work for each participant is complete.
I work with town for all our permits to use the fields and snack shack.
“I am at practices to make sure all is going well and talk to parents and answer questions. I work with the Board of Directors in their roles and responsibilities to make sure we run smooth for each practice and game days. I also monitor both football and cheer practices for safety and work with cheer directors to follow all cheer policy set by Pop Warner."
While all of that can be demanding and a lot on someone's plate, one thing is for sure, 'safety' comes before everything.
"Safety is are number one priority and always the main concerns of our parents,” he said. “Our coaches in both football and cheerleading all go through many hours of training to learn new safety procedures and protect our young athletes.”
Excluding the Middle School program — which has 45 players — because it's not affiliated with WPW, there's 66 football players who are divided up into three teams and then there's 65 cheerleaders, who are also divided up into three teams.
"Wilmington Pop Warner is still a strong program and very competitive in our Eastern Mass League,” said McCauley. “Our numbers are not as strong in the past, but I see that in every town across Massachusetts.”
Despite that, and the changes at the top, WPW remains extremely strong, with many dedicated and hardworking volunteers striving to teach the kids about football and cheerleading, while teaching sportsmanship, and of course having some fun.
“We have a great set of coaches in both football and cheerleading that coach at the high school level so our kids are getting the best coaching around,” he said. “We have a new board with seventeen parents, who are all volunteers this year. They are all very energetic and want to see both football and cheerleading succeed in Wilmington. I see youth football remaining strong in Wilmington and look forward to continuing the your football and cheer culture and preparing our Wilmington kids to play at the next level.”