By TED RADICK
MOUNT BLANCHARD — Citing a desire to spend more time with his family, Riverdale football coach Jeremy Kloepfer stepped down Monday.
The Riverdale Local Schools Board of Education unanimously accepted Kloepfer’s resignation at its meeting Monday.
Kloepfer also resigned his positions as boys track coach, assistant basketball coach and weight room coordinator, all effective at the end of the current school year.
“All coaches that coach high school football know of the time they take from their families,” Kloepfer said. “Over the past month, I’ve really been thinking about how much more time I could spend with my own kids. You know, they’re 12, 11, 8 and 7.
“I was just thinking about that, how much time I could spend with them during the year and on vacation … I just think that’s too great to pass up considering the ages they’re at.”
Riverdale Athletic Director Craig Taylor said Monday that Kloepfer had the support of the district’s administration had he wanted to return. Taylor, high school Principal Dave Evans and Superintendent Eric Hoffman had all recommended Kloepfer’s retention.
“Coach Kloepfer and I have spent maybe the past month and a half in long discussions, and we had a long discussion earlier this evening before the school board meeting,” Taylor said. “At about 6:30 he turned to me and said, ‘It’s in my best interests if I resign.’
“I hate to see that, because coach Kloepfer is a tremendous individual. He’s done great things for Riverdale, not just on the football field but in the community. He gets those kids prepared for life like no other coach I’ve ever seen.
“I guarantee every student-athlete that has left his program has become a better student, a better son, a better community member. That’s because he demands a lot of them.”
Kloepfer, a Vanlue graduate who coached his alma mater in 1999 and 2000, was 32-49 in eight years at Riverdale and took the Falcons to the postseason in 2008. He took over a program that was 1-29 in the three years before he took over in 2006 and, after a 2-8 first season, had at least a .500 record the next four years.
The 2008 team went 8-2 in the regular season before falling to Pandora-Gilboa in the Division VI regional quarterfinals.
“I want to thank the Riverdale community for all the support over the years,” Kloepfer said. “I had a good time there, my kids are in school there and I’m thankful for the support I got while I was there.”
Kloepfer said he’ll miss coaching, but the opportunity to be there for his children was too great to pass up.
“I’d like to think I haven’t neglected my family over the years, but when you sit back and look at all the hours, man, I’ve had to have whether I felt it or not,” he said.
“I hate to see him go, but he’s got three young sons and one daughter and I know the time he’s going to be able to spend with them,” Taylor said. “In that aspect, I’m extremely happy for him because he deserves it.”
Taylor said he’ll start immediately on the process of finding a new coach.
“I’m going to have to get in there tomorrow and start pounding the nails,” he said. “It’s late in the ballgame right now. Summer’s quickly approaching, and summer is vital to a football program.
“We want to get someone in place as quickly as we can. My time frame is, I would love to hire someone by our next board meeting on May 19. Will it happen that quickly? I don’t know, but that would be my hope.”
By TED RADICK