Kristy Kane enjoyed a wealth of club players on the roster during two seasons as Rosary girls soccer coach.
From what she can gather about her new employer down Edgelawn Drive, that turnout is much lower at Aurora Central Catholic.
As she transitions from guiding the top team in the Suburban Christian Conference to one of the league’s struggling sides, Kane aspires to boost the offseason commitment level, for a start.
“Their numbers are growing as a school at ACC, so I’m hoping through that we can help grow the program, have that consistency and have girls returning year after year for four years,” Kane said.
The reigning Kane County Chronicle Girls Soccer Coach of the Year, Kane officially joined ACC last week as the school’s dean of instruction, a newly created administrative position that works heavily in curriculum.
Former Chargers coach Jennifer Sovacool-Smith was not part of the ACC faculty and did not return after one season.
While Kane calls coaching soccer “an added benefit” of working in her priority field of education, ACC athletic director Sean Bieterman goes several strides further.
“You’re getting someone with very good academic credentials, and obviously her background in soccer in this area is tremendous,” Bieterman said. “This gives us the ability to start building something special and have some stability there for the long period of time.”
Kane was in position to become ACC’s fourth coach in as many seasons when Rosary did not ask her to return as an English teacher after the 2012-13 school year. She won regional titles in both of her seasons with the Royals and an SCC crown this past spring, compiling a 33-10-3 record in the two years.
A former player at Benet, Kane commutes from Chicago but occasionally shortens her drive when she stays with her parents in Naperville. She said she is considering moving closer to Aurora.
With conference realignment in the cards – ACC last month was among a group of seven SCC members that announced plans to join the Metro Suburban Conference in 2014-15 – Kane might only find herself facing her former employer once.
“People kind of laugh a little that [her new job is] at ACC, but I think they’re happy that I have a position educating students, which is what I want to do,” Kane said.
More Central shakeup: In other ACC coaching news, Geneva resident Jim Hallahan’s contract as softball coach was not renewed. Bieterman reached Hallahan on the matter on June 17, telling him the athletic department aimed to go in a different direction.
Hallahan, who guided the Chargers to a surprise berth in a 2A supersectional this spring following a sub-.500 regular season, said he was told the school preferred to hire ACC faculty or staff for the position.
Hallahan owns his own construction company. He spent the past three seasons as Chargers coach, and his resume includes a two-season stint as St. Charles North freshman coach.
“I jokingly tell everybody that if I could make $60,000 a year coaching softball, I’d stop working my body to death,” Hallahan said, “but I”m always $55,000 a year short.”
Hallahan recently applied for varsity openings at Elgin, Lake Park, Naperville North and Waubonsie Valley. He hopes any potential new AD would be able to work with his situation.
“It’s tough not being in the building, and I often wonder how much that weighs into an athletic director’s selection process, trying to have someone in the building,” Hallahan said.
• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.