By Barry Dalton
John Kliewer, the head coach of the Van-Far/Community R-6 football team, has submitted his resignation effective at the end of the school year.
“I’ve resigned from all positions at Van-Far High,” Kliewer confirmed. “I’ll finish my duties through the end of the school year, including head boys track coach.”
Kliewer served as the varsity football coach for two years, compiling a 1-9 record in his first season and a 1-7 record his second season.
Prior to being the Van-Far football coach, Kliewer coached at Cameron, Palmyra, Culver-Stockton College, Tabor College in Kansas, Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Fort Scott Community College in Kansas. He is originally from Aurora, Neb.
“Coach Kliewer came to Van-Far with high expectations and pushed our kids each and every day to be better,” said Van-Far Athletic Director Kelly Borchert. “The Van-Far football program has suffered over the past few years due to small numbers of participants. Our coaching staff and athletic program as a whole has reached out to our students in hopes to gain more athletes.”
Kliewer said he resigned based on needs for his family.
“It really wasn’t an easy decision,” Kliewer said. “I’ve made some great friendships that I believe will be life long, and I love coaching the players here. The decision was based on the need to get closer to family.”
Kliewer, who has been an educator for 17 years, will continue to teach physical education, history and personal finance through the end of the year.
“We thank Coach for all of his hard work with the program and in the classroom,” Van-Far Superintendent John Fortney said. “The district wishes him only the best in his future. We will be starting the process to find his replacement shortly.”
Kliewer said he would help the new head coach any way he could.
“When I talked to Coach Borchert about my decision, I expressed my desire to see the program succeed, and when a new head coach is hired, that I wanted to help out in any way I can to make sure his transition goes smoothly so he can be very effective on day one.”
Borchert said that Kliewer the coaching staff believe that the district can continue to improve the football program.
“Coach Kliewer will be missed, but we respect and understand his decision to leave and appreciate everything he has done for the Van-Far athletic program over the past two years,” Borchert said.
Kliewer said that what he will miss most about coaching at Van-Far is the relationships he’s developed with the players, staff and friends in the community.
“I want to say thank you to everyone that supported our football and boys track program,” he said. “The pandemic didn’t make things easy on us, but coaching the boys here has been a great experience and I look forward to seeing what they accomplish in the future.”
Asked if he had any regrets, the coach said in his usual, matter-of-fact manner:
Photo by Leslie A. Meyer