NORMAL — Nic Kearfott is 38 years old and already in his 14th year as a high school athletic director. His fast track to athletic administration has taken him to three schools.
Now, it’s bringing him home … or very close to it.
An El Paso native and 1998 graduate of El Paso High School, Kearfott has been hired to replace the retiring Mike Clark as athletic director at Normal Community.
An Illinois State graduate, Kearfott is completing his third year as athletic director at DeKalb High School after seven years at Woodstock North. His first four years as an A.D. were at Okaw Valley in Bethany.
“I got very fortunate,” Kearfott said. “I taught for one year (before becoming an A.D.) My first school trusted me to do some things. I caught a break and I’ve been very fortunate since then.”
Kearfott’s hiring has been approved by the Unit 5 Board of Education and he has since sat in on interviews for Normal Community’s head football coaching position, which on Monday went to longtime Ironmen assistant coach Jason Drengwitz.
Kearfott officially takes over on July 1 at what he called “a first-class school.”
“It’s a great academic school and it has a rich athletic history,” Kearfott said. “When the job opened up it was a no-brainer for me to apply. Luckily, I got the position and will be able to work in a high school with very good coaches and athletes.”
Kearfott was a three-sport athlete at El Paso, starting three years on the varsity in football and baseball and two years in basketball.
While there, and later at ISU, he took note of the success at NCHS in a variety of sports.
“I’ve followed them since I got out of Illinois State and one thing that is very intriguing is the head coaches and the assistant coaches are very seasoned,” Kearfott said. “They have been there for a number of years. They don’t have a lot of turnover and as an athletic director that’s good to see. It says a lot about the school and the teams. They enjoy being there.
“Hopefully I can continue that and we can keep good people around and they can continue to coach. It’s not good for a school and a program if you don’t have consistency.”
Clark gave NCHS a high endorsement during the hiring process, telling Kearfott, “It’s the best A.D. job south of I-80.”
“That was a good thing to hear,” Kearfott said.
Clark meant every word.
“It’s been a great way for me to end my career,” Clark said. “The coaches here are just so good and the whole system from the parents to teachers to administration, it’s been great.
“You start taking a little ownership and a feeling of family. You want to feel like someone is going to come in and do a better job than you really. I think we have a person with the capability of doing that in Nic.”
Kearfott’s wife, Stephanie, also is from the area. They have three sons. Connor, 12, is in sixth grade; Collin, 9, is in third grade; and Cooper, 6, is in kindergarten.
“My wife’s dad lives in Normal and my parents still live in El Paso,” Kearfott said. “Getting back to that area where our parents can see their grandkids is important.”