Kristyn King was named the interim athletic director on Aug. 1 for the 2019-2020 school year. She is currently serving in place of Keith Beckett, who is retiring at the end of July after 16 years as Wooster’s director of athletics, physical education and recreation. King will serve during the coming academic year while the College conducts a nationwide search.
When asked how she has been finding her job so far, King said, “I have been here for the past three weeks and I have spent them mostly learning the culture, not only in our department, but in the College as a whole. I also have been spending some time looking at the processes and procedures of the way we do things.” King continues, “I have learned a lot about what makes Wooster good at what they do and where there are areas to improve upon.”
How the student athletic body at Wooster is different than the other places she has had the opportunity to be a part of, King stated, “I don’t know about them being different with the small time I have seen them so far, but the one thing I can say that I have seen is how passionate they are about doing what they do. They have a lot pride and our student athletes are proud of the institution, about the facilities, about the campus and about the success of their institution. They came in this year ready to prove themselves. In general, I see there is a lot of pride in this institution. That’s great to see and I think that makes people smile.” When asked what inspired King to be involved in athletics, she said her early childhood mentors were her biggest inspiration. “In a nutshell, the impact athletics had on me as I was growing up, the mentors and the folks that guided me in my success and my career as a student athlete and I wouldn’t have given up that experience for anything. I enjoyed that experience and those mentors enough to realize that this is what I wanted to do. I think athletics are so impactful on people and student athletes that are involved in the program and it helps in so many ways in their growth.” She continues, “I think it’s purposeful work as you get a chance to work with 18 to 23 year olds and help to guide them into finding out what they’re passionate about and working with them on becoming better athletes and better students.”
King says that coaches are at the best places to become excellent role models for the students and she continued by saying that she has been working with other coaches to become those individuals.
In the end, she says that it was her own past with sports that gave her the most inspiration. “Long story short, it is purposeful work that I am passionate about and those passions came when I was young,” she said. “My sisters, as I was growing up, it was about their involvement and basically pushing us out of our comfort zones and to get involved in things that we really didn’t like and didn’t know that we would we good at. Looking back, I wanted to give back to education and to sports and that’s why you can say I am here.”
When asked why she chose small town Wooster as her new home, King states, “I’m from Rockford, Illinois which is 60 miles west of Chicago and close to the Wisconsin border. The town has a population of 150,000 people, so it a similar setup to what Wooster has in Ohio.” But her main motivation for joining Wooster was a Wooster alum who was a graduate assistant soccer coach in Rockford.
“She was a Wooster alum who joined Rockford around the mid to early 2000s and she could not stop talking about how amazing the College was. Therefore, when the opportunity came up, I was motivated for it.” She continues, “When I had conversations with President Bolton, I saw first-hand the outreach the institution has and the reputation it holds in the education community- something you don’t realize when you are at Wooster. But being part of an institution which balances its academics and sports to such a great extent is an amazing opportunity itself.”
When asked what she hopes to bring to the College with her ample experience as head of sport infrastructure at Rockford, King stated, “It is pretty early to think that I can impact anything so far, and it’s too early to anticipate any changes. Bringing a new yet different perspective is an agenda for me.” She further smiled and stated, “Coming to an entirely new environment in Ohio, I found people to be extremely nice, helpful, passionate and extremely positive about what they do here. My three weeks have been very positive, but I know that I have challenges ahead and I look forward to working with people and building relationships so that all of us are working together. I look at athletics as a puzzle, pieces fit together for a while but after some time you need to shift them to see how they can work differently. But moving those puzzle pieces is something I enjoy thoroughly and look forward to in my time here.”