The Knox College Athletic Department plans to announce the hiring of new head men’s soccer and head volleyball coaches by the end of next week, according to Athletic Director Chad Eisele. Eisele also stated that the decision could come as early as Monday, February 20 pending the result of the final interviews and the approval of President Teresa Amott.
The candidates are vying for the positions vacated by Kevwe Akpore and Kim Schrader. Akpore spent the last two seasons leading the men’s soccer team, but was serving on a part-time basis and chose not to return this season. Schrader, who spent the last five years as the head volleyball coach, also serves as the Assistant Athletic Director and chose not to continue coaching in order to focus more attention on the later position.
“This is not a case where anyone got fired,” Eisele said. “Both were really part-time positions and we are now shifting both to full-time.”
Over 100 candidates initially applied for the volleyball job according to Eisele, with another 160 applying for the men’s soccer position. For the past month the athletic department dwindled the list of choices down to three possible candidates for each job and direct interviews with the final contenders began Monday Feb. 13.
The interview process gave not only members of the athletic department, but also Knox players, a chance to learn about and converse with the candidates.
“Players have a say in the interview process here at Knox,” Eisele said. “If I like candidate B, and they like candidate C, then it is something that I have to take into very serious consideration.”
One of the players that participated in the process is sophomore volleyball player Emma Dryjanski, who explained that the interviews helped both the players and the candidates understand what the expectations will be if they are the ones given the position.
“We had the opportunity to ask [a candidate] about her philosophies and what she wants out of the program, while she asked about our past experiences and where we want the program to go,” Dryjanski said.
Dryjanski was also pleased with the news that the coaches would be brought on full-time.
“I think the whole team would agree that having a full-time head coach will really help us. I know that [coach Schrader] gave her full effort to the program, but I think we will now have a coach that can help us more in the offseason, especially in the spring.”
As for program goals, Dryjanski said, “We want to stress putting together a program that we are proud of with everyone giving 100 percent effort. We obviously want a coach that will go along with that.”
Eisele put forth a very similar message when describing how the final choices will be made.
“We want someone who will understand our student-athletes and how things work at Knox, someone that has an obvious desire and passion to help our programs,” he said.