Meet new athletic director Craig Huegel

This year, former Marshalltown Athletic Director, Craig Huegel takes over the helm at West.

Gabby Skopec

West Side Story: What is your background as an athletic director or any education or sports positions?

Craig Huegel: I began my teaching career in 1999 as a social studies teacher and a coach. I started off at a very small school and I coached all four seasons; I coached football in the fall, basketball in the winter, track in the spring and baseball in the summer. I’ve had a varied experience at both small schools and larger schools and I’ve had a pretty good coaching background.

WSS: Did you play any sports in high school or college?

CH: I did, I played football, I played basketball and I was also a shot putter and discus thrower on the track team, I played baseball but very badly.

WSS: What are you looking forward to at West?

CH: I’m really looking forward to that sense of community. I know it’s a larger town and things can seem like they kind of get lost, but it’s already been great to meet a lot of people and try to develop that sense of community.

WSS: Coming into this job, what had you heard about West?

CH: I know West High for their reputation as a very strong academic and activities school, and I haven’t been disappointed in that. I knew it was a larger district and quite frankly a school that was well respected throughout the state.

I know West High for their reputation as a very strong academic and activities school, and I haven’t been disappointed in that. I knew it was a larger district and quite frankly a school that was well respected throughout the state.”

— Athletic Director Craig Huegel

WSS: Are you planning on making any big changes to the athletic program?

CH: I think a different way of looking that is that I’m hopefully going to help manage change, I know there is a lot of big change coming. Whether it is construction projects, the division of Liberty. I think a different way [to look at it] is that I’m not planning on making a lot of wholesale changes but I know there is a lot of change that’s coming.

WSS: How has the job at West been different from Marshalltown so far?

CH: I think the big difference is just procedurally and developing logistics and knowing who to reach out to when you need help with something, and that’s true with any new job. But really it’s a very similar job, I enjoy it, everyday is different; many days you come into the office with your planned to-do list and something else happens that you kind of have to push [your to-do list] to the side. It hasn’t been different in that respect, it’s just trying to develop relationships and getting to know people right now.

WSS: What’s your favorite sport?

CH: I like them all, equally. I like all high school sports, equally, I’m being facetious a little bit. I enjoy all sports, I enjoy watching our kids compete at a high level. My love is football and track, those are the two sports I’ve coached pretty heavily but I enjoy all sports.

WSS: What’s your favorite sports movie?

CH: That’s a tough one- I would say “Bull Durham”, that’s probably my favorite.

WSS: What’s an interesting fact about you?

CH: I would say, probably the most, well I don’t know if it’s super interesting but I two children. I have a nine year old son and he was born with a heart condition so that’s been a challenge for us- he’s doing really well now, but he was born premature and spent a lot of time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). That was kind of a personal challenge.

WSS: What are your hobbies?

CH: I like to read, I like to spend a lot of time with my family, I like to be outdoors, I actually like to mow lawn, my wife thinks I’m crazy.

WSS: What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you as an athletic director?

CH: The weirdest thing that I’ve had to deal with, my first home football game ten years ago as an athletic director, the lights died two minute before kickoff. So I was in the process of turning the field lights on, on the football field at 7:28, kickoff was a 7:30 and the lights would not function. This was also the weekend of the Iowa vs Iowa State [football] game, so we had to have people come back Saturday night [instead of Friday] and they were not happy.

WSS: Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

CH: I just would like to let people know that I’m very approachable, you’ll see me, I’ll be very visible. My goal is to try to continue the great traditions that have made West the great place it is. I look at myself as kind of a servant leader, my job here is to lead but it is also to serve the district and the kids, you guys are the most important.

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