New Moffat County High Sschool athletic director
Richard Wildenhaus, the new MCHS athletic director, talks about recently accepting his new position with the high school, moving to Craig and what he hopes for the future of sports in Moffat County.
Believe it or not, Craig and Las Vegas might have something in common.
"At night, I can see the stars here, and I don't mean celebrities," said Richard Wildenhaus, Moffat County High School's new athletic director. "In Las Vegas, there are too many lights."
Wildenhaus, 29, is in Craig for the week, getting prepared for his new role as athletic director and health teacher. On July 10, Wildenhaus and his wife, Colleen, 4-year-old daughter Julia, and 16-month-old son, Ryan, will move to Craig.
Colleen will teach kindergarten at Sandrock Elementary.
But during his second visit to Northwest Colorado, Wildenhaus has sought to familiarize himself with his new home.
"After I'm done here, I go out and try to learn all the names of the streets," he said. "I've also been checking out all the local hotspots."
Thus far, Craig has suited him well, Wildenhaus said.
"It's refreshing," he said. "It's much more laid-back than a large city, and everyone I've met has been accommodating and friendly."
A smaller city offers many perks compared to the hustle of Las Vegas, Wildenhaus said.
"The lack of traffic, mainly," he said. "I like how quiet it is. In Las Vegas, you don't really get away from the sirens and freeway noise.
"Here, when I get out of my car, I can hear the birds chirping."
Wildenhaus' life journey to Craig started in Ohio, with stops in Hilton Head, S.C., and then Las Vegas.
He taught physical education and health for three years at Del Webb Middle School in Henderson, Nev.
"Ever since high school, I've been around athletics," he said. "I decided that physical education is the discipline I wanted to follow. It gives me the best chance to coach and to be around sports and the athletes."
Wildenhaus' exposure to sports continued in college, where he played baseball until hurting his arm.
Wildenhaus' athletic director career started when he was doing his graduate work at the University of Las Vegas.
"For my internship, I was the assistant athletic director for a high school of 2,500," he said. "Afterwards, I was kept on as the assistant."
Wildenhaus said his plan for MCHS's athletic department is to build on the areas the school has been successful.
"More than anything, I want to continue the strong academic tradition," he said. "I've seen that (Moffat County) has produced several All-State academic champions, and I want to continue with that success."
Wildenhaus' first order of business will be acquainting himself with the staff.
"I want to meet all the coaches and build a rapport with them," he said. "I want to make sure we're all on the same page, and I want to open the lines of communication with everyone."
His predecessor, Matt Ray, already has completed the fall athletic schedule, which represents a large portion of the athletic director's work.
Staying ahead of the workload was one suggestion Ray had for the new director.
"The biggest thing is to use your resources," Ray said. "If you don't know the answer, there are plenty of places you can go.
"This isn't a job you can do by yourself."