VJHA votes to rehire Kersey as director
The Vail Junior Hockey Association board of directors unanimously voted to rehire its executive director, Jade Kersey, Thursday night through the 2005-06 season.
But there are still details to be worked out before Kersey and the VJHA make it official. Chief among those concerns is whether the VJHA will allow Kersey to continue in his duties as head coach of the Battle Mountain hockey team, citing the concern that he doesn’t enough time to devote to VJHA club teams in his role as as executive director.
“I think there was that concern, but I think we’ve identified the way to address that,” said Laurie Kleisinger, president of the board of directors for the VJHA. “I think that it’s going to be a good thing for both programs. That decision just hasn’t been made final as far as his scope of services.”
Kersey said after the meeting that he was pleased with the outcome of the vote.
“Obviously, there are some details to be worked out and we’ll find out what we have to do with the proposal,” Kersey said. “But, it’s nice to hear that they are committing to me for an extended period of time.”
And, there seems to be, at least on the surface, a mutual-admiration society between the two parties on the vote.
“We voted unanimously to rehire him because I feel he’s a strong leader,” Kleisinger said. “He’s got great ideas and potential that we’ve only begun to tap into. He’s going to be an asset of our club.”
The crux of the issue still goes back to whether Kersey will get the go-ahead to coach the high school team, as well. Huskies athletics director Fred Koetteritz has gone on the record with his complete support for Kersey returning behind the Huskies’ bench. Further, if VJHA history is any indication, previous executive directors of the organization generally prefer to coach a team.
Dave Strang served as the club’s director and coach of the Vail Midget A’s, leading them to a state title in the 1998-99 season. He was stripped of his coaching duties the next season to focus on all levels of organization, and he promptly left after just one year. He’s now coaching the Steamboat Springs High School team.
Kersey has made it clear that coaching the Huskies is very important to him.
“There’s no question I do want to continue with (being) the head coach of the Battle Mountain Huskies,” he said. “It’s been an incredible experience working with the boys and working with Fred Koetteritz and being involved with Colorado high school hockey. I think it’s critical for my own professional development that I am involved with a team like that. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I’d definitely like to continue.”
At the same time, he acknowledged that he is willing to work with the board to come up with a solution to some of its members’ concerns that he is not spending enough time with the organization’s teams from Mites on up to girls U-19s.
“I’ve already begun to coordinate a plan and I think it’s going to take some scheduling to ensure that I can get to spend my time equally throughout the breadth of the program,” Kersey said. “But, it’s going to take a great deal of commitment and effort. It’s going to be a cooperative effort, as well, through the other coaches in the program and the board of directors.”
The VJHA and Kersey were scheduled to start discussing what Kleisinger terms, “a scope of services,” which would be part of Kersey’s contract. But Thursday’s meeting, scheduled on the agenda to end at 8:30 p.m., did not adjourn until 9:30 p.m.
Kleisinger estimated that the board and Kersey would meet in “the next week to 10 days” to discuss the details.
“Nobody on the board has a problem with the job he’s done with the high school team” Kleisinger said. “We’ve all admired him and think he’s a fantastic person for the job. We have to examine whether any director whether it’s Jade or anybody else can handle the time commitment to the high school coaching job and the director of Vail Junior Hockey. My personal view is that teachers do this all the time. They have a full day of classes and then coach their sport. It’s not something that’s an impossibility.”