By Chad Wingert
THUMB AREA — Change is sometimes difficult. But it can also be necessary.
At the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, different faces will fill the athletic director slots at Caro and Frankenmuth High Schools after the recently announced departure of Beth Striffler and Jim Szur.
Striffler got her start with the Tigers in August of 2007 while Szur was hired on with the Eagles prior to the 2009-10 school year. That came just after Frankenmuth’s change in their school athletic policy, which resulted in a pair of coaches stepping down.
But, they have both decided to call it quits with the programs for two completely different reasons.
Striffler said several factors played a role in her decision. But, with Striffler set to get married next month, her future is the main reason for her departure. Szur declined to comment on his situation at FHS.
“I feel that my life has been out of balance with the time demands of this position. I would like to start a family in the near future and I decided that I needed to explore other professional opportunities at this time that may allow for a better balance between my home and professional life,” Striffler said.
In a recent interview with the Saginaw News, Szur said, “There’s just a lot of things going on here. I’ll leave it at that, I’m moving on. I don’t want to make a big deal of it.”
Szur was unavailable for further comments on his resignation.
Striffler has accepted a position with Covenant Health Systems and will be working out of Cass City. Her replacement has yet to be determined.
At Caro’s latest school board meeting, superintendent Bruce Nelson’s recommendation to hire two staff members to replace Striffler, one for day-to-day operations and one to handle games, coaching and other athletic responsibilities was approved by the board. Nelson has hopes that two current staff members would take on Striffler’s duties.
Striffler says she hopes to remain active in Caro High School athletics but, she is unsure as to what degree.
“I have talked to Superintendent Nelson, as well as with Mike Joslyn and Josh Hahn, our High School Principal and Dean of Students, about remaining involved in athletics at Caro. But, the details of that have not been decided upon yet.”
Striffler says that she will, without a doubt, miss her everyday role at the school. When asked to select a few moments from her five years with the Tigers that stood out to her the most, she couldn’t do it. Instead, Striffler said it was numerous little aspects of her job that will stick with her the most.
“Watching students mature and compete from their middle school years through their senior year. Being around coaches who truly dedicate themselves to the development of students, both athletically and as overall human beings,” Striffler said. “I also enjoyed working with students in the weight room. Although this was limited, I enjoy watching young men and women accomplish things they did not know they were capable of, and I was able to share in that while working with a few athletes in the weight room.”
During her time at Caro, Striffler was rarely present in the everyday classroom. However, she was able to witness kids learning and growing on a daily basis through the athletic classroom of the high school gymnasium, Stamats Field, the soccer field and the tennis courts, as well as on the baseball and softball fields. The life lessons learned through high school athletics are ones that Striffler is very passionate about.
“There are so many positive physical, social and emotional lessons that are learned as a result of competition. I believe that interscholastic athletics should be an extension of the classroom, where skills and values are taught,” Striffler said.
“I would also like to remind students, parents and fans of a few things. Students: take every opportunity to participate. You have such a limited time to experience and reap the benefits of high school sports. Enjoy every moment of being a part of something greater than yourself, a team! Parents: support your child, his/her team and those that spend countless hours working with them – coaches, teachers and administrators. Enjoy watching your child compete because those four years go by quickly. Also, keep in perspective what your child should gain from participation. State championships are great, but the values they learn and their experiences with their team go way beyond wins. Fans: respect the nature and value of high school sports. Be supportive, enjoy the experience of watching sports in the purest form. Be a positive fan, applaud the sportsmanship and skill of these young men and woman.
“Lastly, thank you to those who gave me this opportunity at Caro High School. I am truly blessed.”
Chad Wingert is the Sports Editor of the Advertiser and can be reached at Sp[email protected]