By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Name: Bill Kluber
Position: Athletic Director
School: Kenwood Academy
Bill Kluber is entering his first season as the athletic director for Kenwood Academy. He teaches physical education to students enrolled in the 7th and 8th grade Academic Center on campus. Kluber originally attended the University of Iowa and earned his business degree in 2006. In addition to his undergraduate degree, he attended Concordia University and earned his master’s in teaching and physical education credentials. Kluber is also the assistant varsity coach for the boys basketball program and the head varsity coach for the boys volleyball team.
HP: What career path did you take to become the athletic director for Kenwood Sports?
BK: To be honest, I played football and basketball in high school. After that I attended the University of Iowa, and there I earned my business degree. After graduating, I decided to work in corporate America for a year, and quickly discovered that it was not for me. I really enjoyed coaching and teaching, so I went back to school and obtained a masters degree from Concordia University (River Forest, Ill.) along with adding my physical education credentials. I accomplished this in 2009; this was during a time where the job market was horrible. After that, I was a substitute teacher for two years and became a paraeducator/teacher’s aide during that process. Last year, I was hired as the physical education teacher and the following year I accepted the athletic director position in 2013. I still teach five classes and I’m the head sophomore basketball coach for the team, which I really enjoy. Forgot to mention, coaching stints at St. Rita high school and volunteered as a coach at several other schools before I was hired here.
HP: What sports programs do you currently offer at Kenwood Academy?
BK: In the fall, we offer cross country, football, boys soccer, girls tennis (where we have 24 kids participating), poms and cheerleading. In the winter we have both boys and girls basketball, boys swimming, girls swimming and bowling. In the spring there’s baseball, softball, boys tennis and track for both boys and girls in addition to poms and cheerleading competition.
HP: What are some of the goals and expectations you set for this year’s programs — short-term and long-term?
BK: To be perfectly honest, with many people taking this position over the past several years, not much protocol has been set up — anything from how to communicate with me to where to practice, to organizing events and making sure that the schedules, buses and meetings are all set for my coaches. I always make sure that I’m accessible at all times throughout the day. So I would have to say short-term, it’s a culture change taking place, a transition period where I can implement the necessary structure to improve us as a program overall. My long-term goal is to actually establish an athletic program where the students will be held accountable both academically and behaviorally. We want to help develop young men and women who are successful after high school who go on to be productive citizens in society. To sum it up, just continue to hire the right coaches and make sure that we have the right personnel in place to help implement these goals.
HP: What was your passion growing up as a child?
BK: It’s definitely basketball. Since I was a child I always had a love for the orange [basketball]. I enjoy the competition of the game, along with the nuances of the game, especially high school basketball where I love it more than any other level of the game. That’s why basketball is my favorite sport. I still enjoy it to this day.
HP: How much has the high school game changed over the years?
BK: I believe the game is much faster. Guys are [stronger] than ever but less fundamentally sound. I blame that solely on the emergence of [Amateur Athletic Union] basketball, where guys aren’t taught team work but individualism. I believe it really destroyed the high school game. Very similar to what the Miami Heat are doing in the NBA, where all the best individual talent in the league are joining forces and stacking the deck.
HP: If you can sum it up in three words, what you would like to be remembered for at the end of your athletic director tenure?
BK: A determined, organized, forthright person.