Kendall officially new Jasper ADAugust 23, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
JASPER - The Greater Jasper Consolidated Schools Board of Education approved assistant athletic director Phil Kendall to the athletic director's job on Monday.
Kendall previously served in the assistant role under AD Brian Lewis, but when the latter was chosen to become the assistant commissioner of the Indiana High School Athletic Association in July, that left an opening. Just under a month later, and Lewis' replacement is an internal one.
"Being a former athlete, being a former coach, being a lifelong Jasper native - to be, I don't want to call it the leader, but the person that oversees that an athletic department that I would consider one of the best in the state, and it's truly an honor for me," Kendall said.
Kendall graduated from Jasper in 1996, and helped the Wildcats win their first state baseball championship ever and was also the recipient of the Mental Attitude Award that year. The former Milwaukee Brewers farmhand traded minor league dugouts for the high school classroom, having taught science and served as an assistant coach for baseball and girls basketball.
He is also the school's third consecutive athletic director who is a Jasper grad, along with Lewis, who graduated and 2002, and previously Andy Noblitt, a 1992 graduate.
"We understand the pride of the programs that are involved and the commitment that the people that run the programs are involved put into it, and try to do everything within our power to, number one, stay out of their way and let them do what they've been doing successfully for the last years and years and years before I was even alive," he said. "But also, provide them with the things they need in order to keep the success going."
Kendall had served in the assistant athletic director position for the past three years, just like Lewis did as AD. He hailed his predecessor for his organizational skills, always being on top of things, but he also learned the bottom-up approach. It's important to have everybody's input to run a good athletic department. While the athletic director must make the decision, sometimes an unpopular one, he knows he must take input from everybody involved.
He knows Lewis is a phone call away if he has any questions, and with Lewis' departure, Kendall had lost more than the experience of working with a colleague, but also working with a good friend.
With Kendall as the new athletic director, Cam Harris is officially the new assistant athletic director. Harris is a 2006 Southridge graduate who served on the boys varsity basketball staff for the past six seasons. He had to abdicate his coaching duties due to taking this position, and oversaw Monday's home freshmen volleyball match.
"It's a tough thing (not being able to coach anymore)," Harris said. "I get to enjoy sports in a different aspect. So, in that regards, it's nice."
Harris noted Kendall has been a great mentor to him, and also told The Herald that he thinks they share the same vision.
"Our goal is to make Jasper great, and that starts within our classrooms, but also our athletics," he said. "And to keep striving to be excellent both on and off the court, I feel like that's both of our goal, and I think together, we're going to do as much as we can to achieve that goal."
"For me as athletic director, my goal is just to provide our players and our coaches the things that they need in order to continue the success that they have," Kendall said. "I'm not going in there and having any grand changes that need to take place."`
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