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Cloos takes new post at I-L

Former Winnisquam athletic director Jeff Cloos makes the move to Meredith

Jeff Cloos sits at his desk last week as the new athletic director at Inter-Lakes High School. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
July 25, 2011
MEREDITH Jeff Cloos is no stranger to high school sports in the Lakes Region.

The former Winnisquam Regional High School athletic director recently started his new gig as AD at Inter-Lakes High School, as the Lakers have hired Cloos to be their first full-time athletic director.

Long-time I-L athletic director Anne Galligan retired following this past school year, as she had 25 years in the AD's chair and even longer as an educator. While Galligan also taught part-time during her tenure, the new position allows sole focus on athletics in Meredith. In addition to his AD duties at Winnisquam, Cloos was also tasked with working on co-curricular programs in his five years on the job.

"(A full-time AD job) was a huge selling point for me," said Cloos last week in his new office in Meredith. "And it's closer to home in Wolfeboro. It's about 15 minutes closer each way so that's half an hour each day and that makes a difference when you have young kids. The facilities are also a big selling point. Looking outside at the nice turf field, I'd love to be able to utilize that and possibly host some events in the future."

The process began in late April, as Cloos went through the interview process at Inter-Lakes, which included several rounds and a visit with the Inter-Lakes Athletic Advisory Board. He was officially named athletic director at the beginning of June and his first day on the job was July 1.

"I had heard there were a lot of applicants for the job, obviously it's a school with a great reputation and great location being in Meredith," he explained. "I think the superintendent and both principals like sports and understand what it takes to be an athletic director and that might have had something to do with the move to making it a full-time position.

"I know there's going to be a lot more involvement in the middle school," he continued. "I'll be doing a lot more with them and that'll get some of the responsibilities off the principals and gear it towards the athletic director like it should be."

While there is certainly plenty of excitement for his new venture, Cloos still looks back fondly at his half decade in Tilton.

"I've got some great relationships, especially with the coaches," he said. "It's always tough when you create those relationships and you go somewhere else but I'll still get to see a lot of them. I put five years into that job and I learned by fire when I came into Winnisquam. I was a brand-new AD, didn't really know much about the job. But in five years, I developed my own system and I almost feel like I'm a veteran AD at this point. We developed some things at Winnisquam that I think were good and overall, I think it's a program that's in good shape and moving in the right direction. I feel like I was a part of that."

With both schools residing in Division III and in the Lakes Region, Cloos does expect it to be a little strange when the Lakers and Bears tangle throughout this school year.

"It will be a little weird," he admitted. "I already looked at the schedule and marked them on the calendar. It'll be fun to see the kids and the coaches. We play them in pretty much every sport across the board at least once so that'll be fun. I joke around that my school colors haven't really changed because I still have a lot of royal blue in my closet at home. It's something new though and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can do."

The familiarity with Inter-Lakes and the area in general also played to Cloos' advantage in his pursuit of the new post, as he will still be dealing and interacting with most of the same colleagues throughout the NHIAA.

"Having that familiarity made it a lot easier I think," he explained. "The schedules, teams you play, where you play, how long it takes to get places, working with the other ADs and scheduling meetings, it's all pretty much the same. Certainly I think that was to my advantage in the interview process, that familiarity with how things go.

"So now it's a lot of learning the new system and how things work. I'm going to be doing a lot of that, who do I go to for this or that? Anne has been very helpful showing me stuff and who to turn to in certain situations."

Cloos' contract is for a 205-day work year, and he plans on going full-steam ahead in the beginning of August. The Lakers' football season opens with conditioning practices on Aug. 10 while the rest of the sports kick things off on Aug. 15.

"It's going to come up quickly, especially when you start a new job in the middle of summer," Cloos said. "Anne has set up most of the things for the fall but stuff obviously comes up that needs to be taken care of. Once the kids start showing up, then you start with the paperwork and things just take off and get going pretty quickly."

With a lot on his plate right off the bat, Cloos said he'll try and gradually leave his imprint on the job as he opens his first school year at I-L.

"My philosophy is that the first year of the job, you see what kind of things need to be changed, if anything, and you make some minor changes that will benefit my management style," he explained. "Then year two, you start the process of making bigger changes. If you make all big changes at once, you're going to lose half the audience, maybe more. And if you do that and later on you find out if worked better the old way, sometimes it can be too late so you want to give it some time.

"I think three to five years is about the time before you get the system in place the way you want it and feel comfortable about," he continued. "I was at Winnisquam for five years and I think I was just getting it to where I had envisioned things when I started."

Cloos is also looking forward to the school's rivalry with neighboring Moultonboro Academy, as the institutions offer co-operative programs for football and hockey.

"I guess the edge might be taken off a bit (with the co-ops) but the excitement is probably heightened because of that," he said. "I'm looking forward to the rivalry, it's going to be fun. Coming from the Winnsquam-Franklin rivalry, I really enjoyed seeing those kids play against each other. The kids really generally grew up together playing in youth leagues together and they always seemed to have a friendly competitive rivalry. So coming from that, I'm looking forward to seeing it with Moultonboro and I'm looking forward to working with (MA athletic director) Harry (Blood) and keeping the co-op sports successful going forward."

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