Brett St. Germain has done it all throughout his career. From being a head coach in multiple sports to becoming an athletic director at Portage High School, to his current role, St. Germain has given back to the community and the youth in the region for over three decades now.
“Born and raised in Merrillville, I have been in the area my whole life. I've been in education for 31 years. I have coached multiple sports – I was a head coach in football for 12 years. I was fortunate enough in 2004 to win a state championship with Andrean High School. I was the head coach at Lake Central High School for seven years,” said St. Germain.
Throughout his career, St. Germain has seen the ups and downs of being involved in high school sports. It is his perseverance and his ability to use the information he has gained throughout the years that has gotten him to his current role.
“I coached football from middle school up to high school. I was a varsity baseball coach here in Portage years ago. I was a softball coach at Wheeler High School. After that, that's kind of when I stepped in and became a head coach at Andrean for five years. Eventually, I moved on to Crown Point High School as an assistant coach for a couple of years and then took the head coaching job at Lake Central,” said St. Germain. “With those roles comes a lot of perspective, coaching not only boys but obviously girls in softball. I have a lot of perspective because I've been in a lot of different schools and coached a lot of different sports. I have seen a lot of different ways that people go about their business and how they run programs and run an athletic department.”
Being a football coach opens your eyes to so much, not only on the field but off the field as well. St. Germain has been involved in youth sports for decades, but little did he know what the possibilities were towards the end of the year.
“When you coach, it's always in your blood. You always wonder if it's something you may go back to, but I don't think that's going to happen. This was as close as it got to it. A lot of the things you do as an athletic director get your juices flowing in much the same way you do as a coach. There's a lot of crossover in terms of the emotional side of doing this job,” said St. Germain.
Being so involved in youth sports has taken up quite a bit of time for St. Germain. As he has gotten older, he has tried not to be so consumed and made sure to get as much time with his family as possible. That was one of the biggest deciding factors for him when becoming athletic director of Portage High School.
“Being a football coach is all-consuming and at times, with being married and having kids, our family sometimes doesn't get all of you because you're so consumed with being a coach. My concern was a way of saying I didn't want my wife to be an athletic director widow like she was a football widow. That was my biggest thought when trying to make a decision. In that short time, I sat down and talked with not only the principal and the associate principal but the assistant, the superintendent, and assistant superintendent. I expressed that I felt I could come in here and do a good job and be great in this role. They all value time with family, and there are ways that they can make those things happen, which is great,” said St. Germain.
Of course, since there were growing pains in this process, St. Germain had some assistance along the way so far in his first year as athletic director for Portage.
“If it wasn’t for our administrative assistant, Jamie Bartolini, and our assistant athletic director, Rod Cook, I don’t know if this would have been possible. They have been phenomenal. I couldn't do it without them because, during the fall sports season, they were the nuts and bolts of the operation as I got my feet wet and got acclimated to being an athletic director again. They have been phenomenal,” said St. Germain.
It has been quite a ride so far for St. Germain, and the future of the athletic program looks to be in great hands behind the entire team there at Portage.
“This is my second stint at Portage. It has been full circle for me that I am back because I basically started my career here, and after 31 years, there’s probably a good chance that I'm going to end my career here,” said St. Germain.