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Jim Konrad steps down as Naperville North athletic director to coach boys soccer

Naperville North athletic director Jim Konrad has announced his resignation after three years on the job in order to return to coaching.

Konrad will resume his duties as head coach of the boys soccer team after a one-year absence. The move from the proverbial front office back to the sidelines was a difficult but ultimately satisfying one for Konrad.

“I enjoyed everything about being athletic director these last three years and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Konrad said. “After a lot of a lot of soul-searching, I decided this is what I wanted to do.

“I got into education to help kids and I really missed coaching. It’s a special thing for me.”

Konrad, a 1989 Naperville North graduate, played for the Huskies and was an assistant coach for six years under Dave Bucher before succeeding Bucher as head coach in 2003.

Under Konrad’s leadership, the Huskies won seven regional and two sectional championships in 10 seasons. They finished fourth in the state in 2010 and the 2011 team finished 21-1-1 and was unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in the state before being upset by Naperville Central in the sectional finals.

Konrad, whose career record is 169-45-20, still feels a debt of gratitude to Bucher, who won 367 games and the 1998 state championship in a 23-year career.

“I still talk to Bucher about once a week,” Konrad said. “It will always be his program.”

Konrad had no intention of stepping down when he became athletic director in 2011, but District 203 instituted a new policy last year that prohibits the A.D. from also coaching.

“That was a change that I was very bummed about but I understand why they did it,” Konrad said. “I would basically be supervising myself.”

So Konrad handed the reins to top assistant Steve Goletz just before the start of the 2013 season. Goletz, who has coached the Naperville North girls to the last two state championships, guided the Huskies to a 12-7-2 record and a regional title.

Konrad wants Goletz, whose wife, Ashley, is expecting their second child in August, to remain as an assistant, though nothing has been finalized.

“I still have to sit down at the end of the school year with my wife and figure out what’s best for my family,” Goletz said. “I love Naperville North and I love the soccer program but we’ve got some things to look at. But I will always be around the program in some capacity.”

Goletz never intended to be head coach of the boys team and is elated to see Konrad return.

“The program has such a rich tradition under Jim and before that Dr. Bucher and Coach [Leo] Leay, I wanted to make sure that there was someone coaching that cared about the boys and the program, so I was proud to lead it for a year,” Goletz said.

“There was never a doubt if Jim wanted to return it was his program. I’ve been so fortunate to learn from him and any opportunities that I’ve have been because of Jim.”

Konrad also returns to being a dean of students, a job he had for nine years. The move is considered a step down the professional ladder but Konrad is at peace with it.

“There’s a lot of things pulling me back into coaching,” Konrad said. “Soccer is one of my passions.”