Jeff Fern has never been a varsity coach, but he believes he has what it takes to be an athletic director in the Middle Border Conference.

The administration at Amery High School agrees. Fern, who has been a guidance counselor at St. Croix Central High School the past five years, was hired last Thursday to become the new athletic director at Amery. He begins his new role on July 1. He replaces Josh Gould, who moved up to become the high school principal at Amery.

Fern hasn’t been a varsity coach, but he lived with one for 11 years. His dad, Mike, was the baseball and basketball coach at St. Croix Central before passing away from cancer in 2013. The St. Croix Central varsity baseball field is named in his memory.

Jeff and his twin brother, Jared, were part of the 2006 St. Croix Central baseball team that reached the WIAA State Championships, with their dad as the coach.

The Fern brothers, including their older brother, Nate, are highly respected basketball officials who have worked together at the WIAA state tournament. Jeff said he will continue to officiate his schedule of college games, which fall on Wednesday and Saturday. He said he will curtail his high school officiating schedule so he can be present for Amery’s home games.

Fern will be in charge of 17 high school programs and eight middle school programs at Amery. He will also serve as assistant principal, with attendance and behavior as his two primary roles. 

“I’m looking for the next challenge,” Fern said in accepting the role. He said it was a difficult decision to take a position outside his home district. He is working on his administrative degree through an online course from UW-Superior and he’s scheduled to complete the program in December.

Fern said he was thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow as the Central guidance counselor.

“The administration and staff really helped me grow as a professional by supporting and challenging me. I've created many strong relationships which makes it difficult to leave. I could not have asked for a better experience,” he said.