Longtime Saline high school baseball coach Scott Theisen will be the school’s interim athletic director this fall. Kirk Evenson, who serves as athletic director and assistant principal, will focus on assistant principal duties.
Theisen, who at long last won his state championship in June, confirmed the change Tuesday morning.
“10 years ago, when there was a little more money in the schools, we had an assistant principal and an AD position. It was combined into one position. That’s a heavy job for Kirk or for anyone,” Theisen said. “Today, the district is in a better position, money-wise. They were able to separate duties.”
The changes take effect Aug. 1
Evenson joined Saline Area Schools as AD and assistant principal in May of 2015. He said it was always the plan, when he was hired by the district, to move into a building leadership role.
“It was an honor and privilege to serve the coaches, athletes and parents in Saline. It was an amazing experience, one that I’ll cherish,” Evenson said. “I have an new opportunity to be a building leader and I’m excited about the future with Saline.”
Reached by phone from the Ed Leader Conference, Principal David Raft said it was a positive change for Saline Area Schools.
"I felt we needed more support from the administrative side. The AD is such a big job that Kirk was basically doing full time jobs. So I've been singing this tune for awhile. Superintendent (Scot) Graden was able to make it happen," Raft said. "Kirk will be 100 percent devoted to being assistant principal, and that's something he was interested in doing. Scott Theisen was interested in the AD position, and what can be better than that? He's so organized and disciplined."
Joe Palka, the assistant AD and assistant high school principal, will also shed his athletic department duties and focus more building administration -- along with his football team. Theresa Stager is also assistant principal and Patti Fosdick is dean of students.
Evenson pledged to offer whatever support necessary to help Theisen transition into the new job. Raft said that all SHS administrators will attend athletics events to reduce the burden on the AD.
Theisen, who teaches physical education at Saline High School, said he’ll be AD for at least one year.
Superintendent Scot Graden said that Theisen will receive his teacher's pay plus a $250/week stipend. He remains a member of the Saline Education Association. Graden said Theisen and the district will determine whether or not he becomes permanent AD.
"He certainly has all the skills and the tool box for it. I'm sure he'll excel and make a great permanent AD if that's something he wants to do," Graden said.
What does this mean for the skipper position in Saline’s powerhouse baseball program?
“I still haven’t decided on that. I will decide before school begins,” Theisen said.
Theisen said the driving factor in that decision isn’t the AD job, but that he wants to have a little time to see his son, Trent, play college baseball. Trent has two years remaining at Ball State University.
“I was in the dugout when I got a text saying my son hit a grand slam at Central Michigan. These are the kinds of things I never get to see when I’m in the dugout all the time,” Theisen said.
The Saline Post will update the story when it contacts Evenson, Superintendent Scot Graden and Principal David Raft.
Theisen compiled a 698-307-8 record in his baseball coaching career. He had a 39-3 record last season.
Evenson's tenure as AD included state championships in girls swim and dive, boys' track and field, field hockey, girls soccer and baseball.