Pete Grieder (left) with his Wildcat wrestling team

Pete Grieder (left) with his Wildcat wrestling team

A petition circulating in Lake Highlands seeks one thousand signatures in support of making Wildcat wrestling coach Pete Grieder the next athletic director of LHHS. (Technically, high schools have athletic coordinators, not ADs, but I digress.)

Though about 250 have already signed, Kim Lonergan, who organized the petition, and others who are supporting it, know getting to 1000 won’t be easy. Even if 1000 sign, that doesn’t guarantee RISD decision makers, including LHHS Principal Frank Miller and RISD Athletic Director Bob Dubey, will give Grieder the job.

Hiring a wrestling coach as AD goes against Texas sports conventional wisdom. The AD moniker – and the pay bump that goes with it – are typically used to attract high-quality, big name football coaches to programs, such as LH’s, seeking to play well beyond Thanksgiving. The administrative tasks also exempt the head coach from classroom teaching. Decoupling the coaching job from the AD position will cause most major candidates with head coaching experience to walk away.

LHHS needs a new head football coach and AD after the announcement March 3 that Scott Smith would move to Plano West.

“An Athletic Director oversees all school’s sports,” says the petition, available for signing online here. “The abilities to multitask, work under pressure, solve problems and make tough decisions are essential for this position. It should not be a requirement that the athletic director be a football coach. Pete Grieder, with 31 years of loyal, effective, dedicated service to RISD, LH, students and the community, would be an excellent athletic director and should be seriously considered.

“Specifically, Pete has a demonstrated record of nurturing and developing student athletes and helping them reach their potential as athletes and citizens. He is a respected coach with 23 district & 6 regional titles, 11 times regional runner-up, 149 state qualifiers, 45 state placers, 2006 State & 2008 National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee. Pete has a proven track record in his professional and personal life for integrity, dedication, commitment, work ethic and leadership. Pete understands the needs of the athletic department, school, district and community.”

“Pete Grieder has raised three sons that went through the wrestling program,” wrote Toni Stroud in the comments section of the petition, “and at the same time ‘parented’ countless young men who came through the program as well. He is organized, professional and detail-oriented. He is a great communicator and a well-known coach and parent. He has all the skills and life experiences necessary to be an outstanding Athletic Director. His record speaks for itself.”

Angel Cochran agreed.

“Bringing in Coach Grieder’s values and sense of community and team work is exactly what is needed at LHHS. His leadership and obvious coaching abilities should be seriously considered as the model for the AD in RISD.”

Wildcat Club presidents Bill and Lizzy Cronin, in an announcement posted to Facebook, said interviews will begin April 6.

“It is the intention of the search committee to have a new Head Coach/AD in place before the annual Spring Red and White game which is scheduled for 5/2,” reads the statement. “There is no doubt that Principal Miller is dedicated to hiring the best fit for LH possible. The ideal candidate would want to make both a long-term commitment to Lake Highlands and ensure our sports programs are among the most competitive and well run in the state.”

Coaching candidates are encouraged to complete the job application, accessible online here.

If you’d like to sign the Grieder petition, you may access it online here.