We applaud the job Athletic Director Daniella Irle has done in her short time since arriving at Knox last year, especially when it comes to rededicating the athletic department to the remodeling of teams that continue to struggle greatly, both in competition and in recruitment and retention of athletes.
We recognize that every individual player that has left the men’s basketball team in the past year, which totals around 12, has done so for his own reasons, and we do not purport to know why each player decided to step away. However, we stress that it is not typical for a program, especially one with a roster size such as a basketball team, to lose this many players in the span of a year or two. It is also unusual for a team to continue to lose upperclassmen who were meant to be the leaders of the program, despite the fact that it has become somewhat common for the team here at Knox.
We understand that no decision is an easy one when it comes to creating a strong foundation for an athletic program, but we believe that the athletes who come to Knox to represent the Knox community through athletic competition deserve a program that excites, motivates and fulfills them.
Each program has its own unique challenges in recruiting and coaching, but Irle has already brought in a couple of new coaches to advance her vision of competitive programs across the board.
After the men’s soccer head coach left right before the preseason for an opportunity elsewhere, it was announced that Brian O’Connor would step into the head coaching role after being an assistant for several years. Following this decision, the men’s soccer team advanced to nationals for the first time in its history.
After years of struggling to place well as a team despite strong individual performances in cross country and track and field, Britton Koestler was hired in the fall to help bring a more aggressive and demanding approach to the program. So far, indoor track and field is placing better than it has in several years.
New volleyball coach Pat Barry seems set to reinvigorate the program, eager to hit the ground running with his team.
It is because of this strong track record AD Irle has already compiled at Knox that we have full faith in Irle’s judgement to do what is best for the men’s basketball team, whatever that may be, following the end of another losing season.