Gorches: Klimczak put in precarious situation at SC
By Steve T. Gorches 648-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org August 18, 2012 11:28PM
Dan Klimczak, photographed Wednesday November 16, 2011 in Wheeler, Ind., is the Post-Tribune Football Coach of the Year. Klimczak has coached the Bearcats for six years. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 20, 2012 10:20AM
Earlier this week, just hours after the South Central School Board approved Dan Klimczak as the new head football coach just days after Bob Foster was dismissed, Klimczak iterated and reiterated and re-reiterated that he didn’t push for this.
He didn’t take the South Central athletic director position just to get his foot in the door at his alma mater so he could push out the new football coach (Foster) in between the scrimmage and first game.
“I had no inclination or desire to get back into coaching this year,” he said on Wednesday night.
Of course, the key words there are “this year” since the majority of region football followers believed he would get back into it sooner rather than later. But doing it this way this soon looks so bad if it was contrived.
And don’t you think Klimczak knows that?
“Not one bit,” he told me when I asked flat out if he pushed for this.
Even the man whose job was lost — don’t ask why because no one will talk on that front except for Klimczak saying, “I’m not allowed to talk about personnel matters” — doesn’t think his immediate boss threw him under the bus.
“The bad part is that me and Danny are friends,” Foster said. He also implied that the decision to kick him out the door came from above Klimczak’s head for a reason that doesn’t seem worthy of a firing.
“I can’t talk about why I got dismissed ... right now,” Foster added with a hint of mystery as if he wanted to say something like, “The truth will come out.”
In the “who looks bad” department, that makes South Central’s hierarchy look bad, but I’m not going to go down that road. There are plenty of region school corporations that haven’t handled coaching situations very well, and that’s not going to change.
It definitely looks bad that South Central had its fifth different football coach Friday night in less than four years. But I’m more concerned with how bad Klimczak looks, and I’m sure he’s concerned about it, too.
Foster was hired on Valentine’s Day, being promoted from assistant to head coach, replacing Mel Hay. Klimczak was hired as athletic director in June. Do you really think one of his goals in his new job was to overthrow the newly hired coach?
It seems like somebody in Union Mills or Wanatah had that idea. Just don’t accuse Klimczak of that kind of underhanded back-stabbing.
You know who else should feel bad? That would be Dan’s wife, Laura Klimczak. I mean, she was going to get her husband back without late nights of football stuff, right?
“It has been our family’s lifestyle for the past 12 years, so I am quite accustomed to the whole coach’s widow thing,” Laura said.
That wasn’t exactly a rousing endorsement, but at least she’s saying the right things. And she said Dan’s kids are actually happy he’s back in football in their school system.
“The kids and I support him 100 percent in all that he does,” Laura added. “It’s a (football) lifestyle that we, as a family, all love.”
For some reason, I believe her.
And for some reason, I also believe her husband.
But in the end, I also believe that Dan was going to be South Central’s football coach eventually since he has two sons coming up in the sport in the younger grades. He just gets to start earlier than expected with only a couple months hiatus from the day-to-day football coaching grind.
I hope he took full advantage of that short time off, because there won’t be much time off for several years.
Crisis averted: It could have been another dicey high school sports situation at Lake Central, but everything seems to have worked out for the best for EJ Santiago.
He’s a freshman at LC who tried out for the soccer team. But he also plays baseball for the Schererville Shock 13-year-old Babe Ruth squad that is playing in its World Series in Washington.
Supposedly he was cut from the LC junior varsity soccer team two days after the Babe Ruth team qualified for the World Series. But Lake Central varsity coach Jereme Rainwater confirmed after the Indians’ 3-0 loss to Crown Point on Wednesday that Santiago will still get to play soccer when he returns.
“He’s going to spend a period of time away from us, but he’s going to finish the season with us,” he told the Post-Tribune reporter covering the game. “That’s my understanding.”
I certainly hope so, because punishing kids for participating in other sports, and then succeeding in those sports, is so wrong in so many ways.