With the start of the 2019-20 academic year around the corner, the Sun will conduct interviews with athletic directors from its eight coverage area schools to discuss the state of each school’s athletic program.
The second installment is with Cherryvale High School athletic director Rodney Vigil, who is entering his 15th season in the position.
What trends are you noticing unfold at Cherryavle with regards to athletics?...
“One of the most obvious things I see is our numbers. They’re increased in some areas, but they’ve decreased in fall sports. Mainly in football, I’ve seen the numbers have declined. With all the information out there, everybody has an opinion when it comes to concussions and stuff like that. I believe it has a big impact on high school football. But with the introduction of state wrestling for girls, the numbers justified it to be sanctioned. So the numbers can be up or down.”
How player safety is addressed at Cherryvale...
“When you look at football, you have to be diligent when you recondition helmets. You have to make sure you have the best equipment your school district can afford on your kids. Now the state requires coaches to have CPR training. They’re going through that certification process for concussions and heat illness. There are a lot of things we’re doing to keep up wit the safety requirements of today’s athletes.”
What the identity of Cherryvale athletics on the field?
“We’ve been pretty consistent over the last few years. We always try to talk to our coaches everyday about something that pertains to athletics or academics. I know we compete. It doesn’t matter where you put us at, we’ll compete. We want to medal at the state level when you get there. That carries over to academic programs as well. When you see Cherryvale on the schedule, you’re going to have to compete.”
Cherryvale has a particularly young coaching staff, with most coaches in their thirties and some even in their twenties. What dynamic does that create?
“These young coaches are energetic. They’re in an era of coaching where technology is at your fingertips. They can find drills and resources and figure out how to apply it all. They’re wonderful at building relationships with kids and working with them at the offseason. That’s what I look at as an AD. We want coaches and teachers to bring that desire to build relationships with kids. We want them to have that internal drive to put our kids in successful situations. It’s a plus that we’ve evolved with bringing in young coaches and teachers, especially at a time when not a whole lot of people are going into our profession.”
The message to the coaching staff heading into 2019-20...
“Every year when we meet with our coaches to go over KSHSAA changes and district changes and stuff like that, our philosophy is that we’re focused on the kids. We want to be good role models in the community — good wives and husbands and parents. Athletics is a door to life development skills. And we want to compete. We want to make it to the next level, at the state level in everything that we do.”
What change KSHSAA could introduce through legislation that Cherryvale would advocate for...
“It’s the ongoing consensus that you see with public and private school classifications. Every year it’s touched base on. People send out feelers, questionnaires and stuff like that. Until they’re at least willing to give it a try…it’s time to try some type of a multiplier. Why not separate private schools for a two-year or four-year cycle? That way we can figure out what the data says. At some point or another, you’ll have to implement something.”
What is the biggest point of emphasis for Cherryvale athletics this season?
“I’d like to see our participation numbers go up. They’re good, but I’d like to see them get better. That’s going to help grow your sport if you get kids involved. Those are things that we try to focus on. Getting those numbers up and getting kids that can help our teams. We want more multiple-sport athletes out.”