Kyle Rodenkirk has big ideas about how to improve the Cedar Rapids Jefferson baseball program.
He'd like to boost the Junior J-Hawk feeder system, build a clubhouse at the field, install a sprinkler system in the outfield, fix the slope behind shortstop, work with the community to increase enthusiasm for Jefferson baseball and get more good athletes at the school to join the team.
Just imagine what the former all-conference catcher at Jefferson might do if he actually becomes the school's new coach.
Rodenkirk, 28, applied for the job on the same day Mike Kuba announced his resignation two weeks ago. He took his resume and cover letter to Jefferson and met for about 20 minutes with Principal Chuck McDonnell and athletic director Chris Deam.
"It went well," he said. "Hopefully they want to get some young blood in there."
Rodenkirk said formal interviews will begin the week of Sept. 10 and he expects stiff competition for the job.
"I feel like I've got a pretty good shot," he said. "It would be good to be back at the alma mater and get them back where they need to be."
Jefferson made four trips to the state tournament in the 1990's, but has not been back since 1998. The J-Hawks have not won a Mississippi Valley Conference title since 2005 and have captured only one Metro title since 1998.
Rodenkirk graduated from Jefferson in 2002 and played college baseball at Winona State after a stint at Iowa. He spent five years as a coach with the J-Hawks with the 8th grade, 9th grade and 10th grade teams before spending two years (2010-11) as the head coach at Anamosa.
He was an assistant coach at Linn-Mar this past season and helped the Lions tie for the Mississippi Valley Conference title and reach the state tournament, working primarily with pitchers and catchers.
He's twice been a member of the Mississippi Valley Conference Coaching Staff of the Year, once in 2005 at Jefferson when Gordy Nordgren was the head coach and again this past season at Linn-Mar.
Rodenkirk had a tough two years at Anamosa, compiling a 12-65 record with a struggling program, but said he benefitted from the experience and grew as a coach.
Rodenkirk comes from an extended baseball family. His late grandfather, Ken Charipar, played in the minor leagues and was a successful American Legion coach before becoming an assistant with
the Iowa Hawkeyes.
One of his uncles, Mike Boddicker, enjoyed a successful career as a pitcher in the major leagues. And Boston Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney is a brother-in-law.
Rodenkirk teaches at Wilson Middle School and said his "dream job" is becoming the head coach of the J-Hawks.
"I remember my senior year in math class," he said. "Scott Kibby was my math teacher and he was my baseball coach my senior year. I thought to myself, 'I want to be a coach here some day. That would be pretty cool.'
"Who knows, that dream might come true. And if it does, I'm going to give it everything I can."
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