MCHS names Richard Wildenhaus as new athletic director

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Richard Wildenhaus

If the new athletic director has his way, Moffat County High School won't just produce athletes.

It will churn out students who happen to be athletes.

Richard Wildenhaus, of Las Vegas, has been named the school's new athletic director, and one of his priorities will be education balanced with athletics.

"I don't want students to just be good athletes, but well-rounded students," he said. "To be able to help young people is probably the greatest reward for me."

Wildenhaus currently is a health teacher at Del Webb Middle School in Henderson, Nev.

In August, he will take over for interim athletic director Matt Ray, who will return to Ridgeview Elementary as a physical education teacher.

Wildenhaus, 29, will bring his wife, Colleen, 4-year-old daughter Julia, and 15-month-old son Ryan to Craig.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the challenge of the position," he said. "We're looking forward to being in Craig, and being a part of the community."

Being a part of a community like Craig is something Wildenhaus has wanted for some time, he said.

"We want to live in a small town, and Craig is everything we've been looking for," he said. "We've finally found it."

Colleen Wildenhaus will teach kindergarten in the district, and Julia will attend pre-kindergarten classes.

Wildenhaus, who has a master's degree in athletic administration from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, said sports are a big part of his life.

"I've always been involved in sports - since I was a little kid," he said. "I've coached multiple sports at all different levels, and I worked as an assistant athletic director."

In addition to being the full-time athletic director for MCHS, Wildenhaus also will teach three sections of physical education.

And the high school is exactly where Wildenhaus wants to be.

"I like high school athletics," he said. "When I entered (UNLV) for my master's, I knew I was going to choose high school athletics over intercollegiate."

The reason for his preference, Wildenhaus said, goes beyond the playing field.

"I like working with younger student-athletes," he said. "I like seeing them develop as students in the game of life. I like seeing the maturation as they come in as freshmen to when they leave as seniors."

MCHS principal Thom Schnellinger said Wildenhaus would bring what the district needs.

"He's not just enthusiastic about sports, but about education, as well," he said. "What excited me was he put academics in front of athletics."

The search for a new athletic director started in January, Schnellinger said.

"We interviewed three folks, and Richard stood out," he said. "He has great ideas, and we think he can reach out and connect to all the coaches."

Wildenhaus said he doesn't expect to make major changes when he arrives; rather, he's content to see how the system works at first.

"Matt (Ray) did a great job, and I would just follow his footsteps," he said. "I'm not one to come in and make big changes. I want to continue where they've been successful and improve where I can."

Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 875-1795 or bbulkeley@craigdailypress.com.

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