ELKHART — In a quest to find its new athletic director, Memorial High School didn’t have to go any farther than its own gymnasium.
Charger volleyball coach and director of student activities Jacquie Rost has been named Memorial’s new athletic director. The appointment was announced at a Tuesday, July 9, Elkhart school board meeting.
Rost was a natural fit, said Dr. Robert Woods, Elkhart Community Schools director of business operations, especially considering her success with the volleyball program.
“The feeder system makes her a prime candidate for athletic director because we hope she encourages other coaches to develop such a feeder system because it’s led to a lot of the success she’s had over the years,” Woods said. “She’s got some great ideas to help our programs grow. She’s just the right person for us.”
Rost, who learned of her hiring earlier Tuesday while on vacation with her family, already has plans to bolster Memorial athletics’ social media presence.
“We have to speak the language of our audience, and that’s kids, teenagers and families,” Rost said. “To get people in the stands supporting our athletes, we have to be speaking the same language they are. Pull the student body together and create a culture of success.”
She also hopes to build better alumni relations, something she said the 41-year-old school has been lacking; reach out to parents more; and establish a student-athlete ambassador corps to promote the school’s sports.
“The Charger community is really going to enable our student-athletes to have success,” she said. “I want student-athletes coming out of Memorial prepared for whatever it is they’re going to do after high school.”
Rost replaces Frank Kurth, who had recently accepted an assistant principal position at Memorial. Rost will work alongside assistant athletic director Phyllis Tubbs, who Rost calls “a mentor.”
Rost will continue to coach the Memorial volleyball team and will enter her 19th season with a 495-129 record this fall.
She and Woods understand that juggling both positions will be taxing, but Rost can’t imagine life without volleyball.
“It’s very, very hard for me to even wrap my head around the idea of not coaching,” she said. “I am just was not willing to give that up. I don’t have an end date in mind. No one gave me an end date.
“My day job has changed, but when I’m in the gym, that’s how I feed my soul. I love that time.”