LHS hires two interim athletic directors


Photo by Katie Felsl

Mr. John Fischl and Mr. Randy Oberembt work to split up the job of an athletic director.

Retired former athletic administrators Mr. John Fischl and Mr. Randy Oberembt are serving as LHS’s interim athletic directors this school year.

Last spring, Libertyville High School’s former athletic director, Mr. Briant Kelly, took the position of associate superintendent with District 128, leaving the athletic director position open. Although the administration went through an extensive interview process to hire a new athletic director, the final four candidates for the job ended up being unavailable for various reasons, according to Mr. Fischl.

In June, the administration thought it would be too difficult to find a new pool of candidates to replace Mr. Kelly in such a short amount of time, Mr. Fischl said. Consequently, they decided to use a model that has been used in the past at LHS, which is to bring in an interim athletic director. This meant that someone would fill the role of athletic director for a temporary period of time. Mr. Fischl added that the current plan is to restart the interview process after the holidays to hire a permanent athletic director for next school year, who will remain at LHS for years to come.

Since both Mr. Fischl and Mr. Oberembt are retired, the state of Illinois will not allow them to work more than 100 days on the interim job, which is why the position is being split between the two.

“We are doing a job share where we each work 100 days. So, the school gets 200 days of an athletic director out of the two of us,” said Mr. Fischl.

Prior to retirement, Mr. Fischl had worked at LHS for 22 years as a teacher, boys swim coach and assistant athletic director. Mr. Oberembt had been working at New Trier High School as the athletic director for nine years.

Mr. Kelly had a vision for how to make the interim position work. According to Mr. Fischl, “[Mr. Kelly] left this position 100 percent committed to the success of this interim and to the future athletic directors. He left it in great shape and did not want to see the students or the community suffer [from the interim].”

Mr. Kelly divided up the entire job description, including sports and other everyday duties of an athletic director, into two different lists. Mr. Fischl and Mr. Oberembt then chose together who would be the best fit for each list and how to split it up.

Mr. Fischl’s responsibilities are scheduling and payment of contest workers, off-campus facilities, awards nights, the coaching contracts and handbook, and picture days. Mr. Oberembt’s include the budget, facility schedules (includes practice schedules and rentals), freshmen athletic orientation, eighth grade orientation and summer camps. They also share responsibility over North Suburban Conference Meetings, IHSA meetings and responsibilities, as well as any other duties as needed.

Mr. Fischl and Mr. Oberembt are also both in charge of different sports. For example, during the fall season, Mr. Fischl works with swimming, tennis, volleyball, cheer and poms. Meanwhile, Mr. Oberembt works with football, cross country, tennis, soccer and golf.  

Although they are technically in charge of these specific sports, “[Mr. Fischl and I] have a lot of contact with almost every fall program, so it isn’t delineated to exclude our contact from any sport. It really depends on what the day of the week it is, who is playing, what coaches and students need that day,” said Mr. Oberembt.

Although they both oversee different sports and, for the most part, have different duties, they are often required to communicate and work with each other every day. They said they talk on the phone two to three times each day, and every email that is sent out is sent to the other director so they do not duplicate their efforts. Usually, Mr. Fischl works Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while Mr. Oberembt works Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mr. Fischl and Mr. Oberembt both emphasized how they work very well together and are grateful to be paired with each other: “I am so fortunate to be working with Mr. Oberembt and his wealth of knowledge. I have learned so much about his style and approach based on every conversation that he is in that I get to be a part of,” said Mr. Fischl.

Additionally, Oberembt stated how “Mr. Fischl is a tremendous asset to Libertyville because he served the district for 22 years… so Mr. Fischl’s knowledge of what goes on in Libertyville High School is exceptional.”