A FINE RUN Kloepfer Closes an Exemplary Career
Byline: Jim Wojciechowski
Dick Kloepfer initially turned down an opportunity to coach cross country and track at Crystal Lake Community High School, his alma mater.
About a week after accepting a math teaching position and a coaching job at Sycamore, Kloepfer was approached about working at Crystal Lake High, only it would be teaching driver's education.
Since Kloepfer had no training in that field and because he had misgivings about breaking a contract with Sycamore, he respectfully declined.
But when a more appealing opportunity presented itself at CLH the following year, Kloepfer jumped at the chance. When Kloepfer settled in as a math teacher and cross country and track coach back home, he had no intention of leaving.
Thirty-five years later, the end is finally near for Dick Kloepfer. Less than three weeks remain in the remarkable coaching career of the Crystal Lake Central boys track coach.
All along he intended to retire at age 60 - which he'll turn in October - coinciding with a nice, round 35 years at the Crystal Lake school.
One of the last stops on his farewell tour will be the Fox Valley Conference meet today at Dundee-Crown. Central is a prohibitive favorite to capture its 14th title in the last 15 years.
Field events begin at 5 p.m., running preliminaries are at 6 and the track finals at 7.
Kloepfer's distinguished career will be recognized in the meet program and he will be presented a plaque by the conference coaches, according to Dundee-Crown coach Tom Smith.
"He certainly has left his mark," Smith said. ". It's really a success story. He comes back to his home area. He's done it all.
"I think he's in position to go out in good style."
Kloepfer doesn't expect to be too emotional, which has been the case throughout the year. It hasn't been a sentimental journey.
"I haven't had that feeling," Kloepfer said. "I thought maybe I would but I haven't had that feeling so far. Maybe when it gets down to the very, very last meet."
In all honesty, Kloepfer said it's been "kind of a frustrating season for the team as well as for me. I had big expectations for this team because it had such good potential and we have been unable to reach our potential mainly because of the weather and precipitating injuries.
"... We just haven't been able to condition the kids."
The two biggest losses were Chris Cochran and Ryan Noonan to hamstring injuries. Cochran is a state-caliber sprinter who finished seventh in the Class AA 400 meters last year, and Noonan is an accomplished jumper and sprinter, who captured the long jump and took second in the triple jump at the conference meet last year. …