BUNKER HILL — Even after 27 years in the classroom of Maconaquah schools, nothing could have prepared athletic director John Off for what he would face during the spring of 2011.
Just as spring sports were getting off the ground, a tornado swept through southern Miami County. Maconaquah's school complex was in the direct path and wasn't spared.
The school's athletic facilities sustained about $150,000 worth of damage. The football scoreboard was ripped off its girders and flung onto the home straightaway of the track encircling the field. Fencing around the football field and tennis courts were uprooted and tossed about. A set of dugouts at the softball and baseball complex were destroyed. Bleachers for both fields were mangled.
All but two baseball and softball games were played on the road that year while repairs were made. Off is glad to have it all behind him.
"We’re back up and running 100 percent," he said. "But, it’s always a scary thing when you see the wind and sideways rain. You know that the school, with nothing else around it — we sustain some damage almost every time. But, the 2011 storms left a mark. The insurance companies were great. The adjusters were out there the next day, and we moved as fast as we could, but it happened at such a time where we only got to play the two home games. All of the [Mid-Indiana Conference] schools and other schools we played were very kind to step up and host. It really helped us out of a real jam there."
Off enters this his seventh school year as AD this fall after a lengthy career in the classroom in the same school system. He's seen a lot of people and situations come and go, but he's also left an indelible footprint on Braves athletics, a talking point he takes pride in.