Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A New Era in Oyster Bay Athletics

By Alessandra Puccio

Along with many new teachers in our school building this year, we also have two new administrators joining the staff of Oyster Bay. As of July 1st, 2010, Len Kies is now the new Athletic Director in the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District.

Our previous Athletic Director, Dawn Cerrone, was a physical education teacher for 23 years before becoming an athletic administrator in Oyster Bay. Kies, on the other hand, has never taught a physical education class, and in fact was a social studies, a fifth grade, and a sixth grade teacher for seven years at Rocky Point Middle School, prior to his job here at Oyster Bay.

Thankfully, Kies has plenty of experience with athletics, from being a student athlete in both high school and college, and being the Athletic Director in the Rocky Point School District for six years. Ironically enough, Kies played baseball at St. Johns and Oneonta during college, two schools which have recruited baseball players from Oyster Bay in the past few years.

Kies did not always plan to have the athletic driven career he has today. In fact, after graduating from Syosset High School, he planned on becoming a lawyer, until he realized his passion for coaching and athletic administration.

As the district’s new athletic director, Kies is planning on making some changes to Oyster Bay. At his previous district, Rocky Point, the cheerleading squad won six straight regional championships. “I’m on the state committee to legally make cheerleading a sport, an incentive that should be passed by fall 2011,” said Kies. “Whether or not it has the official title, I still call cheerleading a sport.”
In fact, over the next few years, Kies is planning to enter the cheerleading squad in competitions. He also would like to develop a Physical Education elective, like a Strength and Conditioning Class.

Kies has also spoken of an athletic probation policy for student athletes. “A probation policy has been talked about, but on a very low level. I have been in a district that has a very formal policy, with an appeals program, and no loopholes,” said Kies. By loopholes Kies means, if a student does not do well the fourth quarter, they cannot play in the first quarter of the next year. “I don’t know why students feel they can slack off in the fourth quarter of the school year, but maybe if we threatened their playing time in the next fall season, they would shape up a bit,” said Kies.

Other staff members of the Physical Education department think that the idea of an athletic probation policy is a good move for Oyster Bay. “Playing on a sports team is a privilege, and student athletes should be expected to behave and act a certain way,” said physical education teacher, and basketball, softball, and volleyball coach, Erin Egan.

Despite his tough guy demeanor, in his spare time Kies is really just another average, college football watching, Taco Bell eating guy. He, like any other standard man of this era, cannot be without his cell phone. In fact, when asked what three items he would need on a deserted island, instead of answering with necessities like food and water, Kies first asked if there was a cell tower with good reception for his smartphone.

“Although I haven’t gotten a chance to really speak with the new athletic director, from my position, I feel he really wants every team to win, and go as far as they possibly can,” said senior and girl’s varsity soccer captain, Mariah Cody.

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