"I Am St. Francis"
The Faculty/Staff and Coach Perspective: Seven Questions for Coaches Who Work at SFHS
Basketball, Girls: Jeff Gerdeman ’87 (Varsity); Mike Harper (Assistant Varsity); Dan Holleman (Head JV)
Cross Country: Scott Nelson (Varsity); David Haberman (Assistant Varsity)
Dance: Nichole Favero (Varsity)
Football: Bob McMillen (Varsity); Kevin Kloss (Assistant Varsity)
Lacrosse: Kevin Kloss (Varsity), Anne Vogel ’17 (Assistant Varsity)
Volleyball, Boys: Mike Lynch ’77 (Varsity)
Volleyball, Girls: Lisa Ston (Varsity)
1. During your tenure at SFHS, please list your job title(s) and/or what you have taught, moderated, coached.
Gerdeman: Coached: Sophomore Baseball, Freshman Boys Basketball, Varsity Girls Basketball; Taught: Math (Algebra, Geometry), Business & Technology (Accounting, Honors Accounting II, Marketing Management, Intro to Programming, Honors Programming, Web Design); Business Office: Assistant Business Manager; IT Department: Director of IT
Haberman: I currently serve as the PE & Health Department Chair, teach Health and PE, and coach cross country. I also work in the athletic department as an associate. In that role I help supervise events and coordinate our National Signing Day events for senior athletes.
Kloss: PE Teacher, Head Girls Lacrosse Coach, Assistant Football Coach
McMillen: Facilities Manager, Business Operations, and Head Varsity Football Coach
Ston: I have taught Calculus, Pre-Calculus, Trig, AAT, Advanced Algebra, and Geometry. I have coached girls’ volleyball since 2000 and boys’ volleyball from 2003-2013.
Vogel: This is my first year as a faculty member at SFHS. I teach APUSH, U.S. History I & III as well as Psychology. I am also the Assistant Girl’s Lacrosse Coach.
2. Why did you want to become a coach? Why do you want to coach at SFHS?
Gerdeman: I wanted to try and have an impact on kids the way my coaches (and teachers) – especially Mike Harper – had on me. I have been around St. Francis since my oldest sibling started attending in 1973; I have always been proud to be a Spartan.
Haberman: I wanted to become a coach because I love sports. After my playing days were over, coaching provided a platform to remain engaged in the hobbies I love and also share that passion with my students. I wanted to coach at SFHS because I have always loved running, and cross country is one of the unique sports where I can actually participate along with the kids on a daily basis while coaching. Also, Coach Scott Nelson has decades of cross country coaching experience and it presented a great opportunity to work with and learn from him.
Harper: I am really back in coaching because of Jeff Gerdeman. St. Francis is family and it took another family member, Jeff, to get me back in. It’s hard to say no to family, but I am really enjoying coaching the girls.
Kloss: I wanted to become a coach because of the impact and relationships my coaches had with me and I wanted to pass that on. I want to coach at SFHS because of the family environment the school and community has built.
McMillen: The main reason why I coach is to give back. I love being around kids and watching them grow and develop into young men or women. Why SFHS? I had just moved back home from coaching in California and was looking to get back into coaching, especially at the high school level so that I could be a mentor and try and make a difference to these athletes. I heard St. Francis was looking for a new coach, and after hearing what a great community it was, I applied and was fortunate to be given the job.
Ston: I enjoy watching kids grow to their full potential through healthy competition and team camaraderie. Few things are better than seeing the joy on a player’s face when they achieve something they never thought they could. At SFHS, I love the traditions and family atmosphere we create. To coach at St. Francis is an honor.
Vogel: The coach who started the Girl’s Lacrosse program here at St. Francis was my first and one of my favorite lacrosse coaches. Many SFHS coaches taught me to believe in myself which sticks to me to this day as an adult. I want to be that person for my athletes.
3. How do you view the relationship between academics and athletics?
Favero: As a coach, some of the most significant lessons a student-athlete can learn comes from the relationship between who they are in practice and performance and who they are later in life. One of the reasons I love coaching is due to the distinct and unique correlation between discipline, attitude, and leadership that one demonstrates as a high school teammate and the challenges one will inevitably face as a young adult. I consistently remind my dancers that there is so much more value in what we do than how they perform on the field and court. Each year that I coach, I feel blessed by the opportunity to see the dancers flourish and grow, not just as athletes, but more importantly as individuals.
Gerdeman: We learn similar life lessons in and out of the classroom and on and off the court – especially in this day and age when collaboration and teamwork are essential to success. I firmly believe student-athletes do better academically when in season.
Haberman: The students are here for academics, but athletics provide another venue by which we can teach students the character qualities needed to succeed in the classroom and in life.
McMillen: Being a student-athlete, I tell the kids all the time they need to understand academics absolutely comes first. I always discuss that it doesn’t matter how talented you are athletically but having a strong emphasis on education will take you much farther in life. We ask the boys to concentrate on being organized, disciplined and work on their time management skills to accomplish the task of getting things done in the classroom, and then focus on the field. We have a rule that practice comes second if they need to see a teacher or need extra time on their academics. A lot of kids have high expectations to continue to play in college, and while that is a great goal, I tell them that grades are one of the most important factors to make that happen.
Ston: Academics always come first. Athletics push the students to stay focused in the classroom and learn time management.
Vogel: I think in a lot of cases, sports motivate students to succeed academically. I also think sports and other extracurriculars remind students that they have more to offer than their academic abilities.
4. What do you want to achieve from this coaching season?
Gerdeman: We want to represent St. Francis High School, get better every day, and we want to compete – no matter who the opponent – for 32 minutes.
Haberman: I want the students under my care and leadership to leave this season as better runners and better people….and if we go to the state finals, well that would be nice too.
McMillen: As a coach you always want to win, but I want to continue to develop the boys on and off the field. We strive for commitment and live by our motto #ALLIN. Our goal as staff is to bring a state championship to the St. Francis community and take the steps necessary to get there each week. I also want these boys to have some fun along the way; that gets lost sometimes but is a huge part of high school sports.
Ston: I want the girls to love the game, build lifelong friendships, and make memories to hold onto for years to come.
Vogel: I want to get to know my athletes and hopefully help develop their confidence in their ability to play lacrosse.
5. What is a benefit of working on campus during the day and coaching after school?
Gerdeman: It is great to see our student-athletes in the classrooms and hallways during the day and then on the court after school. If one of my players need to find me, I am right down the hall.
Haberman: Working on campus during the day and coaching after school provides more opportunity to build relationships and allows you to more closely keep tabs on the students physical, mental, and social well-being so you can best meet their needs as a teacher and coach.
Harper: I think it is very important to have as many coaches as possible who are educators. Coaching has always been referred to at the high school level as an “extension of the classroom”.
Kloss: A benefit of both working and coaching at SFHS is being able to be in touch and available more easily to your student-athletes.
McMillen: The greatest part of my job is being there during the school day to help talk to kids about their academics, getting to know them on a more personal level and being involved in their life outside of football. I feel this builds personal relationships with the kids outside of football. It’s great to learn about them off of the field, so that I can be a better coach on the field.
Ston: You get to know your players and their friends, you can connect with them in the hall just to see how their day is going, and sometimes you get to sneak in some extra coaching in those moments.
Vogel: I get to know and see my students as people outside the classroom.
6. As a coach, what values do you have for your team?
Gerdeman: I have re-instituted Coach Harper’s motto from my playing days – “Whatever it Takes, Together” – provide maximum effort and put the Team before yourself.
Haberman: As a Cross Country staff, we preach and practice: Care and Ethical Leadership: We believe that everyone is a valued member of the team and community, and therefore we model for and encourage our runners to treat everyone with dignity and respect. You’ll never hear us swear at or degrade another person. We choose to see the good in one another and try to bring out the best in each other through positive engagement. Authenticity and Accountability: It means being who you are, all the time. When we are authentic, we admit our shortcomings to ourselves, recognize our strengths, and live who we are.
Kloss: The values that I have for my team are to hold them to the highest standard on and off the field and for them to represent SFHS with integrity and pride.
McMillen: We ask a lot from our team. We expect them to play for each other. #ALLIN isn’t just a team motto for us, it is an expectation. We expect our athletes to give us their all on the field, in the classroom and in life. We want them to be the best student, best athlete, best brothers, sons, and become the best husbands and fathers or whatever path they choose.
Ston: Integrity, responsibility, coachability, trust.
Vogel: Integrity, sportsmanship, teamwork.
7. What is one word that encapsulates your experience at SFHS?