After 33 years at the helm of the Heritage Hall athletics program, Athletic Director Rod Warner will step away from his administrative duties at the end of the 2019-20 school year.
Warner was hired at Heritage Hall in August, 1983, as head football coach and Assistant Athletic Director. His 47-year career as a high school coach and administrator began with coaching stints in Oklahoma and Kansas: Stillwater High School (1973-80); Wichita Collegiate School (1980-82), and Derby (Kansas) High School (1982-83).
In 1986, Heritage Hall named Warner Athletic Director. During his tenure, he served as head football coach at The Hall for 13 years with a record of 101-50 and led the staff that won Heritage Hall’s first football state championship in 1998. From 2005-13, he was an assistant football coach with Andy Bogert, whose squads won football championships in 2008, 2010, and 2014.
Warner has also served as the school’s head golf coach for 16 years, leading his teams to three state championships and three state runner-up titles.
According to Headmaster Guy Bramble, Warner has truly been the architect of Heritage Hall’s athletic success.
“With the notable exception of Craig Brown ’78, Warner has recruited and hired every coach on the school’s current staff,” notes Bramble, adding, “The Chargers have won 81 of the school’s 91 state championships under his watch.”
Upon retirement, Warner will be succeeded by Chris Gfeller, a 20-year veteran at Heritage Hall who currently serves as the program’s Associate Athletic Director.
“Chris Gfeller is the real deal,” states Warner. “He will be very successful as our Athletic Director. He has exceptional interpersonal skills, a tireless work ethic, and a deep love for Heritage Hall. The Athletic Department will flourish in Chris’s very capable hands, and I look forward to supporting his success through this transition” Warner adds.
Gfeller, a certified athletic administrator through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA), earned his B.S. and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Central Oklahoma.
“I’m honored to have this opportunity,” Gfeller says. “It has been a privilege to work with Rod for the past 19 years. I can’t put into words the impact that he has had on both my professional career and personal life. I’m excited to start this next chapter at Heritage Hall, and I’m enthusiastic about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” Gfeller continues.
Warner credits Heritage Hall’s leadership for its support of the athletic programs. “In addition to the outstanding working relationship I’ve had with Chris and so many exceptional coaches and staff over the past 37 years, I have been extremely fortunate to have the unwavering support of two headmasters during those years,” Warner says.
“Dr. David Goodsell hired me in 1983. Our current headmaster, Guy Bramble, has helped me create the environment and the successful program that now exists in the Heritage Hall Athletic Department,” Warner concludes, extending thanks to the coaches, parents, and players who have helped develop and support the “Building Champions for Life” philosophy, which Warner describes as the foundation of Heritage Hall’s interscholastic athletic program.