In an Executive Session on Feb. 21, the Van-Far R-I School Board hired John Kliewer as the new Van-Far/Community R-VI head football coach. Current coach Kevin Baldwin is retiring at the end of this school year.
Kliewer, a native born and raised in Nebraska, had the opportunity to play basketball at a community college, then finished his college career playing basketball and football at Peru State College in southeast Nebraska.
He started coaching football in 2003 at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, followed by a stint at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, where they won a conference championship.
After that, he moved to Tabor College in Kansas where he again won a conference championship and won the program’s first ever playoff game in the NAIA playoffs.
Kliewer’s last college coaching stop was at Culver-Stockton College. He then made a career change and took a high school position at Palmyra High School, which was a very successful tenure with multiple championships. He took his first head coaching job at Cameron High School.
“We grew the roster from 23 at our first practice to 47 this season with 30 underclassmen; we also snapped a 39 game losing steak, and earned ‘Team of Week’ honors from the local TV station after starting the season 2-0, the first winning streak for the team in six years, and won our first conference game in six years as well,” Kliewer said.
He also said what led him to apply for the position at Van-Far was, what multiple area coaches said if all of their athletes would all play football, they would be a very dangerous team. So I’m hoping to convince everyone just how much of a sleeping giant that their football program is.”
When ask about his journey to Van-Far/Community R-VI, Kliewer said, “I need to thank a lot of friends and coaches that shared their support. I don’t know if I would have pursued this position without their help and information. From everything they said, the community and schools love their athletics and do a great job supporting the teams. Every coach wants to be a part of that type environment.”
Coach John Kliewer noted that some of his transitional plans are needing to talk to a lot of people during this current time.
“I plan to make visits to the schools and start building relationships with everyone involved,” he said. “I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to know me and learn what I’m about. I’m a very competitive person. Football may be my passion, but I want everyone to know I support every sport and activity that the school has. I’m looking forward to being a part of something very special.”