Heading into the summer, Homer athletic director Chris Perk has the most head coaching positions to fill of any athletic director on the Kenai Peninsula.
Head swimming coach Andrew Foley, head cross country coach Jennifer Chapple, head hockey coach John Butcher and head cross-country skiing coach Emily Chenel are all leaving their posts at the school.
Perk said he already has hired Paul Gutzler, who was the cross country coach at Kenai Central this season, to fill Chapple’s position. Perk also already has two applications to fill the spot of Foley, who spent two years with the program and led the Homer girls and boys to Region III titles last year.
Perk does not have any leads on filling the spot of Butcher, who coached for two years, and Chenel, who coached for one.
At Nikiski, athletic director Ned Clooten said cross country coach Perry Corsetti will not be returning after coaching one year.
At Kenai, athletic director Tim Delaney said Gutzler will be replaced by Sandra Lewis, who was the assistant this year. In girls basketball, Ken Felchle will take over for Lee Moore, who coached the team for two years. Moore will stay on as the swimming coach.
Delaney said that two years ago, Felchle was hired as the girls basketball coach, but before he could coach he went to Iraq with the Alaska National Guard. Now that Felchle is back, Delaney said Moore could have stayed on as the coach if he wished. Moore stepped down in favor of Felchle.
At Soldotna, athletic director Pat Nolden said Chris Hanson will take over the boys basketball program from Joe Trujillo, who coached the team for three years. Hanson is the former head boys basketball coach at Ninilchik School.
In Ninilchik, Principal Terry Martin said Penny Vadla, who has coached the cross country team for 28 years, is retiring.
In Seward, athletic director Dan Krier said head football coach Mark Woodward and assistant Roger Steinbrecher will not be back next year. No new football coach has been hired. Krier said Steinbrecher will continue to coach the girls basketball team.
At Cook Inlet Academy, Principal Kevin Spence said he does not know of any changes at this point.
At Skyview, athletic director Matt Widaman will be leaving after three years and will be replaced by Dan Bohrnsen. Boys basketball coach Shaun O’Shea and boys soccer coach Rob Albers both will be leaving after one year, while head swimming coach Dennis Reger will be replaced by Joanne Wainwright. In 2002, Reger had taken over for Wainwright, who had been the head coach for the previous 12 years.
The Kenai Peninsula School District also is studying how recent changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act will affect certain coaches.
Major changes went into effect in the Fair Labor Standards Act in August of 2004 and Tim Peterson, the human resources director with the district, said the Fair Labor Standards Act was revised again in January of this year.
Melody Douglas, the chief financial officer of the district, said the changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act strengthened overtime protections for the district employees, like custodians, that are paid by hourly wage and not by salary. Coaches in the district are paid a set stipend that does not change no matter how many hours coaches work.
Douglas said the district recently became aware that it is out of compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act in how it pays hourly wage employees that also coach. Douglas said the district is studying how to get into compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act and plans to be in compliance by the start of the next school year.
Peterson said the athletic directors of the district have been told about the potential problem, but he emphasized that nothing is yet set in stone.
“At this time, the school district has made no determination on these coaches,” Peterson said.
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