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Kohler Schools athletic director leaving position

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Joe Hildebrand is leaving his position as athletic director for Kohler Schools. He said it has nothing to do with anything school-related and everything to do with spending more time being involved with his four kids.

Constituents and some coaches packed a June Committee of the Whole meeting to voice concerns over the direction they felt Kohler athletics was going.Hildebrand said he will help with finding a replacement and will be available for during the transition.

The following is an email that Hildebrand sent to colleagues at Kohler Schools detailing his reason for leaving:


Kohler Staff,

A date has weighed on me for many months. That date is December 21, 2018. I will never forget it.

On this date, Kohler School district had a half day in anticipation of winter break and the holidays. My children still had a full day of school in another community. I was excited to take advantage of the extra time to get home and surprise my two youngest children by picking them up from school instead of them riding the bus home, as usual. This required me to call the school secretary to let her know that I would be picking them up.

After the secretary answered, I proceeded to inform her that I would be picking up my children. She said, “great, who are their teachers so I can let them know?” I paused as I didn’t have an answer. In fact, I took a deep breath and responded by saying “I am sorry, I don’t know their teachers names.” It was at that very moment that I realized that life was passing me by.

How could this be? I had to look back on why this had happened. If I was to use  baseball as an example, I was thrown three pitches, and all were strikes. Strike 1 was on September 6, I had missed my elementary kids “Open House” to host and be in attendance for a boys soccer game and the girls swim & dive meet. Strike 2 happened on October 4, I had missed their “Back to School Night” to host and be in attendance for the boys soccer game and the girls swim & dive meet which was also senior night. Strike 3 happened on October 25, I had missed “Parent Teacher Conferences” to host a boys soccer WIAA Sectional Semi-Final game. I had MISSED it all! I hadn’t even seen their classrooms or met their teachers. Each of these dates was a strike, and in my baseball example, I was out. This has weighed heavily on me since December 21.

High School educational based athletics is electrifying. It has been so much fun watching and supporting our Kohler coaches and kids. The last three years have been a great ride in Kohler: 12 conference championships; 6 WIAA Regional Championships; 3 WIAA Sectional Championships, 80 individuals qualified for WIAA individual state, 186 student-athletes earning all-conference recognition, and countless WIAA State send offs (I could keep going). The administration is amazing! The staff go above and beyond and are amazing! Our student body has bought into the Kohler Pride that I have tried to instill. This ride over the last 3 years has been nothing short of amazing…..But – I have come to the realization that I need to step off of this ride for now.

Though I had struck out on December 21, I know that I have more at bats to get it right. I have also come to the realization that my family needs to become a higher priority as there isn’t a reset button to being a father or raising a child.

The communication for hiring my replacement will be forthcoming from Principal Nick. I will work with him on a replacement and offer my availability during this transition to the start of another successful school year and fall athletic season.

I want to thank EVERYONE for EVERYTHING. I mean that! A part of me will Bleed Kohler Blue forever because of all of you. You all do great things! Keep doing great things!

Go Bombers!

Joseph Hildebrand


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