“Anybody that I talk to and they’re like what are you doing, and I say I’m the athletic director and they go where at and I go Naperville Central and they go “Oh” Like that’s a really good place,”
There is a new face leading the Naperville Central athletic department for the 2022-23 school year. Earlier this summer, Chris Kirkpatrick was hired to oversee all Redhawk sports.
“I think the tradition here at Naperville Central and just everything involved in being in a place like this with the expectations of excellence and the tradition and just the size of the program I think it’s a big excitement for me,” said Krikpatrick. “I think it’ll be a great time to be here and be a part of the sports program.”
After playing football in college at Olivet Nazarene University, Chris Kirkpatrick began a teaching and coaching job at Bishop McNamara in Kankakee, eventually taking over as Athletic Director for the Fighting Irish. He then moved on to become Dean at St. Viator, while also serving as the head football coach until 2011. Kirkpatrick then hung up his whistle to get back into the AD role at Duluth High School in Georgia, then came back to Illinois to oversee athletics at La Salle-Peru and Woodstock before making the move to Naperville Central this year.
Kirkpatrick takes over for interim AD Roger Strausberger, who is now returning as the Redhawks head boys volleyball head coach. Despite learning more about the Redhawk traditions in recent months, Kirkpatrick knows it’ll be a big adjustment from previous Athletic Director positions.
“Even though you’ve done the job before you don’t know how people do things and how systems work. He showed me that, he’s given me like, “Hey this is how it works over at Knoch park this is who you contact all of those things that you just don’t know, you don’t know what you don’t know, and he’s helped me get in contact with people and do that.”
Since stepping into the Hawks nest on July 1st he has been impressed with the coaching staff in place for the red and white.
“Our coaches are first class. Our coaches, from what I have seen through summer and now just the first week in fall, is that our coaches do it right and they treat kids right. So that excites me more than anything because in the end we’re here to develop the kids and our athletes.”
The Redhawks are now two weeks into the athletic season, and it will be exciting to see how Kirkpatrick and the rest of the Central athletics department will help these birds fly.
For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo.