David Rosengard stepping down as Niles West athletic director

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Citing his desire to look for another challenge, David Rosengard recently announced his intention to resign as Niles West’s athletic director after five and a half years in charge.   The District 219 Board of Education accepted his resignation at its Monday night meeting and approved the transfer of Kendall Griffin to the position of AD, effective in early December. Griffin was the school’s assistant principal for operations for the last three years.   With Rosengard at the helm, the Niles West athletic department has gone through a period of success both on and off the field. The football program has qualified for the last two postseasons after missing the previous eight. He also oversaw the school’s branding and marketing efforts and facilities upgrades that included the building of a state-of-the-art gymnastics gym in 2011.   Rosengard, Niles North athletic director Karl Costello and other district and school administrators also worked hard to improve the local feeder programs, which provide additional activities for youths and help to develop athletes for the high school teams.   A 2008-09 intergovernmental agreement between the school district, local park districts and local townships to share coaches, facilities and other resources already has paid dividends in the form of improved participation in high school sports and more successful teams.   “David leaves District 219 with a lasting legacy of raising the bar of athletic excellence,” superintendent Nanciann Gatta said in a statement. “Under his leadership, we made major capital improvements. In addition, David branded our programs by insisting on a consistent, approved logo, so the community would recognize Niles West Wolves programming. Moreover, David successfully developed feeder programs.”

Rosengard said he was proud of his accomplishments at Niles West and happy to have served his hometown of Skokie and its surrounding communities. He attended Niles North.   “It’s been a great (5 ½ years). I think Niles West is in a better place, not just because of me, but because of my great staff,” he said. “It’s been an honor to come back here and be able to work in the community I grew up in.”   Though no longer athletic director, Rosengard will remain in the district office until the end of the school year, and said he will focus heavily on the continued development of the feeder programs. He’ll also be there to help ease Griffin’s transition to athletic director.   The 62-year-old Rosengard said he’s not sure what his next professional challenge will be. His impressive resume includes time spent working in college, professional and youth sports.   In the 1980s, Rosengard served as the vice president of marketing for the Chicago Bulls and the president of the Chicago Sting professional soccer team. He spent 10 years in the athletic department at Illinois-Chicago, serving as an associate athletic director before coming to Niles West. For the last 35 years, he has helped run summer basketball camps along with DePaul women’s coach Doug Bruno.   “I’ve done pro, college, and high school, my experience runs the gamut,” Rosengard said. “I’d like to have another good opportunity, a good challenge. I’m not sure what arena it’s going to be in. I’m open and anxiously looking to see what’s out there. I still have lots of energy.”   Though their programs were rivals on the field, Rosengard and Costello often worked together on various projects.   Costello, who is in his 14th year in charge of the Vikings athletic program, said the pair complemented one another well. Costello has a background as a high school coach and administrator, while Rosengard brought expertise from years in marketing.   “Give credit to David, he’s the guy who came up with the traveling trophies [awarded to the winners of the annual matchups between the rival schools in nearly all sports], and he was a great help when we were looking to establish some branding at the school as far as logos,” Costello said. “Also, in terms of fundraising, being able to reach out to some of his contacts on the pro and collegiate level, to get some of those resources to contribute to some of our fundraisers and the booster club.”   Niles West principal Jason Ness chose Griffin, 41, to succeed Rosengard. A Fenwick graduate and former Division III All-American football player, Griffin has a background in high school administration, coaching and teaching.   Griffin, the all-time leading receiver in Loras College (Iowa) history, has spent the last decade and a half at Chicagoland high schools including Brother Rice, Fenwick, Argo and Schaumburg. He’s served as an assistant and lower-level coach in football and boys and girls basketball, taught world history and was a longtime guidance counselor.   Before coming to Niles West, Griffin was the assistant principal for discipline at Schaumburg.   “I always thought that if an AD job opened up, it would be something I would be a good fit for,” Griffin said. “I’m so excited that it’s happening in a district like 219, which I’ve been around for nearly three years. I know the building and the people. I feel all the roles I’ve had prior have helped prepare me for this one.”

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