CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- "You've got the keys to a Maserati and you better not crash it."
That's how new Mallard Creek athletic director Phil Davanzo relays his job description. Davanzo took over shortly after July 1 at one of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools' most successful athletic programs. Coming off an undefeated championship season, Davanzo knows the stakes are high, but the new athletic director feels at ease.
"Everyone I've dealt with has been absolutely 100-percent supportive, and that's not a company line," told NBC Charlotte.
Davanzo continued, "And there's been no pressure from anyone but myself. I put that pressure on myself as a former athlete."
Davanzo should know what it's like to feel that pressure, given his athletic background and history. Phil came to North Carolina on a wrestling scholarship at North Carolina State. From there, he began coaching girls' softball Millbrook Middle School, and heassisted with wrestling. After that, Davanzo moved onto Jordan High School where he served as assistant athletic director and wrestling coach prior to becoming athletic director.
Coach Davanzo knows that in order to succeed on the field, student athletes must first achieve success away from the games.
"You'll see our hashtag Creeklife, and that stands for model citizen, model student, and model athlete. We want that from our athletes and we want that as our brand. If we can take care of that, then we will be great, winning will be a byproduct of that and set them up for great success in life."
Social media is a big aspect of Davanzo's vision, and he and his staff are busy tweeting, and sharing photos and videos on several platforms. "The Mavericks Minute" is a one-minute recap of what's happening at Mallard Creek that is produced weekly by the athletic staff at the school. Phil is aware of the impact that social media has, and looks to stay in the public eye for spreading his vision.
The move to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has been quite the landscape change for Davanzo.
When asked if there's any major differences between Charlotte and Durham, Davanzo said, "Oh yeah. Absolutely, there's a lot." Luckily, he feels blessed to have some great helpers in the CMS district.
"A lot of the Ads--not a lot of--all of them have been absolutely willing to help me out; I've leaned on the Hough AD [Masanori Toguchi] a lot, and Jamie Billings at Hopewell. The Butler athletic director Courtney [Paschal] has been incredible for me. The noticeable difference, though, is how Sue Boran runs her office and our athletics. She is so organized it's incredible, and that's not a knock on anyone else. It's just awesome."
Davanzo has a bold statement for the future of athletics at Mallard Creek.
"I believe in dreaming big and leaving room for the impossible. We want to be the standard."
Davanzo's boldness will certainly be his trademark at Mallard Creek. And why wouldn't it be? After all, he is driving a Maserati.
For more high school sports coverage, visit WCNC.com and don't miss NBC Charlotte's high school sports preview show on August 15.