Patrick Kalpin may be the envy of outstate Minnesota.
At 36 he landed a full-time activities director position in the Pierz School District.
Kalpin replaces the retired Rey Zimney, who as a part-time AD, helped Pierz establish itself as an outstate sports powerhouse.
With recent state football and wrestling titles, state True Team track and field appearances, state representatives in girls' tennis and boys' and girls' golf and cross country and thriving programs in volleyball and boys' and girls' basketball, Pierz athletics has excelled at the conference, section and state levels.
Kalpin's goal is to maintain that success with the help of a veteran coaching staff. He also wants to concentrate on communication between the community and activities department and be more available to his staff, athletes and parents.
Patrick Kalpin (left) walked with head Pierz football coach Leo Pohlkamp on Thursday. Kalpin is the new activities director in Pierz. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls » Purchase reprints of this photo.
"As a full-time AD, you can accommodate requests in a quicker fashion," said Kalpin, who started July 1. "You're there for your coaches at all times. At my old job at Osakis, sometimes you had to wait until the afternoon or the end of the day to get changes made or deal with issues. Now I can address issues as they come up."
At Osakis, Kalpin coached girls' basketball, girls' golf and football and taught physical education while performing the duties of an AD. His time was being stretched in too many directions so when Pierz's full-time position became available, Kalpin jumped at the chance.
"I knew Pat from his coaching days at Osakis," said Pierz assistant football and head girls' basketball coach Rick Sczublewski. "We scrimmaged his team several times and he also coached my daughters' AAU team, the St. Cloud Comets, their junior and senior years. They both really liked playing for him.
"He seems to be a very organized man. He is quiet but efficient. I think he is doing a great job so far."
Head football and boys' golf coach Leo Pohlkamp agreed and said Kalpin brings a lot of energy to the department.
Position: Activities director
Previous school: Osakis
College: Fergus Falls Community College, North Dakota State University
Both coaches said Zimney was great at the position, but hard to get in touch with because his time was divided between teaching and coaching.
"The nice thing is you can find him," Pohlkamp said of Kalpin. "With Rey you hated to interrupt him in the middle of class. You just never felt comfortable talking to him while he was teaching. Availability is a big plus. If something occurs and you need to act on it quickly Pat is there. That's nice to have."
Zimney has been instrumental in getting him caught up on the demands of his position, said Kalpin, who has a list of questions every time he sees his predecessor.
"There's nothing broken here or anything that needs to be changed so I'm concentrating on the other activities I'm in charge of, like FSA, art club and all the other clubs this position governs as well," Kalpin said. "I'm also in charge of fundraising and that's new to me. I'm trying to get to know each activity and help them out as well as I can."
The position's many perks include community support for activities. Full time activities directors are a dying breed and Kalpin knows the community and the Pierz district made a big investment in the position.
Kalpin wants to make sure the investment pays off.
"The community support of their teams is what drew me to the job," said Kalpin. "They've passed referendums for a new gym and facility. This community really supports the school and the students. The demands are high. The expectations are high from everyone, which is the way it should be. My goal right now is to find out what those demands are for the different programs and staff."
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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