Ron Kock Retires after 35 years Serving DeKalb Central

posted May 28, 2014, 9:21 AM by webmaster district   [ updated Jun 2, 2014, 6:08 AM ]

Ron Kock is retiring next month after 35 years as a teacher, coach and administrator. Kock has been the athletic director at DeKalb High School the past 13 seasons. Before that, he was a teacher in the school system for 22 years and the Barons’ head football coach for eight seasons.

WATERLOO — There was a point in Ron Kock’s life where becoming a teacher and coach wasn’t part of his plan.

Upon graduation from Garrett High School, Kock earned a two-year degree in civil engineering and entered the work force. But Kock quickly realized he may have let some outside influences shape what he wanted to do in his adult working life.

“I’d tell people I want to teach and coach and people used to say, ‘Oh, you don’t want to do that,’” Kock said. “And I kind of took their advice. When I went to work though, I thought, ‘What am I doing?’ My heart was always into teaching and coaching.”

So with that, Kock went back to school and got his teaching degree, and the rest they say, is history.

Next month, the 59-year-old Kock — who has been DeKalb’s athletic director since the 2001-02 school year — will officially retire after 35 years in education, the first 22 of those spent as a teacher.

Before becoming the athletic director, Kock served in a number of teaching capacities, including fifth and sixth grade at McIntosh Elementary for a combined five years and four years as a math teacher at DeKalb Middle School before moving to teach the same subject at the high school in the 1989-90 school year.

But what Kock will most likely be remembered for is his eight-year tenure as the Baron head football coach. Kock is the school’s all-time leader in wins (67) and win percentage (.788). On top of that, Kock oversaw some of the best teams in the program’s history. From 1992-96, Kock’s Barons went 50-6, including a trip to the Class 4A state finals in 1994. From 93-96, the Barons won 28 straight regular season games.

Despite all the success, Kock said he doesn’t miss coaching.

“You’re so busy as athletic director, I don’t think there was time to miss coaching,” Kock said. “I think you always miss Friday night. I think if I stepped out of coaching into a less busy position, no doubt I’d miss it.”

During that time, the Barons also won five Northeast Hoosier Conference titles (1992-96), won sectional titles in 1992, 1994 and 1995, and added regional and semistate crowns in 1994.

“I was involved in a program that had a constant staff,” Kock said. “We had a group of coaches that were there for a long time and really enjoyed each other. We were very committed to the football program.”

Kock was an assistant coach under Dale Hummer when the Barons won the state title in 1986.

Before taking over as the head coach, Kock was an assistant for a number of years, coaching a multitude of areas. He started out as an assistant freshman coach, eventually moved on to junior varsity, and also coached linebackers and defensive line. But the one position he coached every single year was the offensive line.

“There’s always individual names that come to mind, kids you got a big kick out of coaching, and the guys that you coach with,” Kock said. “When I first came here, Bill Moree gave me a chance to assist and I was Dave Schlemmer’s assistant freshman football coach. That was the start of a great coaching relationship. Coach Schlemmer and I coached for years together and he’s about as loyal as Baron football gets. Any success that’s been tied to Baron football is related to Dave Schlemmer.

“The opportunity to work with Dale Hummer was tremendous. Now that I’m at this point in my career when I come across former football players, we can talk about games and practices, and how much fun that was.”

And while the 1994 squad came up short in the state finals against East Central, Kock will always have special memories about that team.

“What I’ll always remember about the ’94 team is leadership,” Kock said. “I’m not talking from coaches, I’m talking from players. We had some players on that team that were just phenomenal leaders. If you could teach kids something, I think that you would love to teach them leadership. And if you know how to teach leadership, you’re a phenomenal educator. I don’t know if there’s a formula for that.”

Kock stepped down as the head coach following the 1997 season, although he stayed on with the program for two years as a varsity assistant in 1998 and a freshman coach in 1999, of which his son Alex was a part of.

It was after stepping down as head coach did Kock start helping out then-athletic director Dick McKean, with the hope of eventually taking over for him when McKean retired.

“It was a thrill to work with him and learn from him,” Kock said. “It was a positive change for me, a new challenge and a new start at that point in my career.”

Longtime baseball coach Chris Rhodes will take over as AD next year, and the two had similar paths to reaching their current point. Rhodes has been at DeKalb since 1997, serving as a physical education teacher and head baseball coach.

Like Kock back in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Rhodes had a child entering middle school-age.

“He’s the perfect choice,” Kock said. “He’s going to have a great time overseeing an athletic program where he has a son and all of his associations. I’m thrilled that he knows our coaches and the community.”

Kock says he’ll miss watching the students participating in events the most.

“It’s fun to watch kids that you know,” he said. “If you come to an event and you don’t know the kids, it’s easy to be more critical of their performance, or more critical of the coaching. If you know the coaches and the kids, it’s much easier to support because you know how hard they’re working and you want in the worst way for them to be successful. And when they aren’t, your heart bleeds for them.”

As Kock rides off into the sunset, he believes the state of DeKalb athletics is in a good spot.

“I just hope that DeKalb continues to value athletics,” he said. “It’s so nice to be athletic director at a school where fans are loyal. If you’re at a school as long as I am, you’re going to go through highs and lows. I hope the DeKalb fans will always be that loyal, and I think they will be. We’re going to have good teams again, and I think Chris is going to do a good job leading. Rather than being in charge every night, I can step back and truly enjoy being a fan now.”

Article from The Star on Saturday, May 31, 2014 - By Phil Friend

View this link from Indiana News Center honoring Ron Kock and his retirement this year.