Next year, Woodstock North will change athletic conferences for the first time in school history. The athletic director who will lead them through the changes is no stranger to the process.
Woodstock North announced the hiring of new AD Brady Stromquist on Tuesday, filling the position left vacant last month when Nic Kearfott became the AD at DeKalb.
Stromquist comes to Woodstock North after a 17-year tenure at Sherrard High School, including two stints as AD. In his time there, Sherrard went through two conference changes in short order, most recently joining the Big Rivers Conference in 2013.
Woodstock North, which was in the Fox Valley Conference since it opened in 2008, will join the new Kishwaukee River Conference for the 2016-17 school year. Stromquist said he already sensed excitement among coaches regarding the upcoming switch.
Currently the Thunder, which have an enrollment of 900, are the smallest school in the FVC; they will be the third-argest in the seven-team KRC. The Woodstock schools are projected to grow over the next five years, while the smaller schools in the conference such as Johnsburg and Richmond-Burton, are projected to lose enrollment.
"I don’t think we’re going to go in and all of a sudden win conference championships in every sport by any means," Stromquist said, "but I think we have to make sure we’re going to come, play hard, do things the right way, and as you do things you build confidence. That's how you build programs over the long haul."
Stromquist, a 1991 graduate of Cambridge High School, has lived in the Quad Cities area most of his life, other than his time in college at Illinois State.
He said he immediately got a good vibe when he visited Woodstock to interview for the position. The Thunder's golf coach, J.C. Wise, was Stromquist's physical education teacher in high school and recommended the school. He had other connections to the area through friends in the Richmond-Burton school district.
Stromquist said made positive connections with administrators right away and is eager to move to Woodstock with his wife and young son. He said the foundation of his management style is having good relationships with the school's coaches.
"I really try to work as a team with all of them and try to give our kids the best experience they can have," he said. "It doesn’t always mean they’re going to win more games, but I try to make it a memorable experience, because they only go through this once."
Stromquist soon will make his first hiring decision as he fills the open coaching position on the Thunder's wrestling team. The new AD said he's gone through applications for the job and hopes to put together an interview team this week.
"You want to find somebody that looks at the sport and is serious about it and wants to make that time commitment, because we all know it takes a lot of time away from your family or anything else you want to try to do," Stromquist said. "You want to make sure that person's invested into it and they’re there for the right reasons, not to just see their own wins go up."