By Cara L. Dempski
COLFAX — If you ask Colfax’s new athletic director, Mike Hodel, about his goals for Viking athletics, one answer comes immediately to his mind.
“I would like to see more three-sport athletes,” Hodel said. “The bug that’s been planted in some of them (Colfax athletes) is that they have to play one sport year-round in order to get looked at. You talk to college coaches, and they want to see kids that are in three sports.”
[emember_protected] Make no mistake, the new director knows it is nice to win games, but also knows participation should not always be about the win. He is interested in helping young athletes discover their character and learn lessons in dedication, work, and humility through organized sports.
“We like to win games, but the reality of it is, the majority of people who go places in athletics are a pretty small percentage of the whole,” Hodel explained.
The Vikings’ new athletic director is a relative newcomer to the area. He started teaching physical education at Colfax in 2016-2017 after working as a substitute teacher in Eau Claire, Altoona and Chippewa Falls the prior year. Hodel teaches mostly elementary physical education, but also assists with high school classes.
Before moving north, he was employed by the Swallow School district in Hartland for seven years. He served as the middle school athletic director for five years before he and his wife, Amanda, decided to move closer to her hometown of Winona, Minnesota.
Hodel has experience coaching, having coached junior varsity baseball at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha from September 2010 to June 2015, and served as the eighth-grade boys’ basketball coach at DeLong Middle School in Eau Claire from October 2015 to January 2016. He also has experience with fifth- to eighth-grade boys’ and girls’ basketball, sixth- to eighth-grade boys’ and girls’ volleyball, golf, and track and field.
The Colfax teacher’s most recent coaching experience stems from assisting head Viking baseball coach Kirk Secraw for the 2017 season.
The incoming athletic director knows his new position is a big one, but does not seem daunted by it.
“I knew it was a big time commitment. It’s tough work, but I know the reward of the work,” Hodel noted. “It’s nice being able to see everything that happens with the time I put into it.”
He adds his son, Owen, is just one year old, so Hodel has plenty of time to get settled in the position before his own child is old enough to participate regularly in school sports.
Hodel’s organizational skills and love of detail will be put to the test during the 2018 spring sports season when Colfax, who moves up into Division 2 for track and field for the 2017-2018 school year, will host the Division 2 track and field regional.
The new AD seems to feel at home in the Colfax district, and said he has felt welcome since he started here in 2016. He indicated his fellow staff members are friendly, supporting, open and easy to talk to.
Michael Hodel is a 2008 graduate of UW-Eau Claire with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. He obtained a health educator license from UW-LaCrosse in 2010. Hodel and his family currently reside in Eau Claire. [/emember_protected]