“Most of all, I am going to miss the students. I have made really good relationships with many of the kids, both athletes and non-athletes. That is what I love about this job, that I get to see all the kids in the school.”
— Richard Wildenhaus, Moffat County High School athletic director, on the relationship he has formed at the school
As the 2010-11 school year nears an end, Moffat County High School will have its’ hands full trying to find a new athletic director.
Richard Wildenhaus, who is finishing up his second year in the position, turned in his official resignation May 12 and has accepted a job as the new assistant principal and athletic director at Fort Morgan High School.
The decision, Wildenhaus said, comes on the heels of finishing up his second master’s degree in educational leadership and earning his administrative license.
“I asked the (Moffat County) school district to explore making my position one that included assistant principal, but they were not ready to move in that direction,” he said. “I interviewed (at Fort Morgan) and talked to the administration and the outgoing athletic director and they were extremely positive about the job. It is a great program I am stepping into and it is a good fit for me.”
Wildenhaus said the assistant principal/athletic director position is one many schools around Colorado use and it is a model that makes sense.
“The administrative pay scale is a totally different one than I am currently on,” he said. “But, being an athletic director is what I enjoy the most and I didn’t want to give that up.”
Ultimately, Wildenhaus said, the decision was also to help his family, as his in-laws and children’s grandparents live in the Denver area.
“I think it is really important for my kids to be able to see and be around their grandparents,” he said. “We would see them multiple times in a month, but it involved travel, either us to them or them coming here. Now, we can see each other on a regular basis without going over a mountain pass.”
Wildenhaus said he would stay in his position through the high school’s graduation and is going to complete his job as he always has.
MCHS Principal Thom Schnellinger said the school would be looking for someone with administrative and supervision abilities who can manage varsity sports and athletes.
Schnellinger said a job posting would be made within the next week and a half.
“Ideally, we would like to have this job sewn up by June 30 because by the middle of July we have camps and volleyball starting up,” he said. “The job encompasses aspects of both athletics and academics because about 62 percent of our student body is involved in activities or athletics. The athletic director is an important aspect of our school community.”
When a new athletic director is hired, Wildenhaus said he would help with the transition.
“There are absolutely no hard feelings,” he said. “I still want to help push our athletic program in a positive direction and help with the transition once I am gone.”
In leaving, Wildenhaus said it is a bittersweet experience because of the students, the coaches and the community.
“Most of all, I am going to miss the students,” he said. “I have made really good relationships with many of the kids, both athletes and non-athletes. That is what I love about this job, that I get to see all the kids in the school.”
In his time here, Wildenhaus has helped in hiring David Bradshaw as the boys varsity basketball team’s coach, Matt Ray as the girls varsity basketball team’s coach and Sandy Camilletti as the varsity volleyball team’s coach.
Wildenhaus said he has made lifelong friendships with the coaches and will miss the support of the community.
“When Colleen and I came here, we were welcomed with open arms,” he said. “We will never forget that. That is what makes it bittersweet. I am just taking a step up professionally, but unfortunately that means leaving here.”
Click here to have the print version of the Craig Daily Press delivered to your home.