New LHS AD John Hilton excited to connect with coaches

photo by: USD 497

John Hilton, new athletic director for Lawrence High School.

John Hilton was watching a summer football camp at Memorial Stadium when he got the call in June.

At the end of the school year, Hilton decided it was time to get back into administration. Hilton wasted no time when he saw the opening for the Lawrence High athletic director position, throwing his name in the mix immediately.

Hilton got an interview by the end of May, and then he was offered the position nearly a week later.

“At that point, it was part excitement and part finality,” Hilton said. “Coaching is something that is part of my DNA. To have that opportunity to be at Lawrence High is one I couldn’t pass up. I’m extremely honored and excited to be a part of it.”

Hilton succeeds Bill DeWitt, who was the LHS athletic director for five years before leaving to become a principal of adult education services and alternative programming in Lawrence.

Prior to joining the Lions, Hilton spent four years as a physical education teacher, strength and conditioning coordinator and assistant football coach at Olathe North High School. Hilton has seemingly always had a hand in coaching and sports over the course of his career.

Before his stop at Olathe North, Hilton spent six years as an assistant principal, activities director and assistant football coach for Bonner Springs High School. But when asked to choose between administration or coaching, Hilton wasn’t ready to give up his first passion just yet.

“One of the things I have found over the last four years in coaching is right now we are at a crossroads with education and coaching in this country,” Hilton said. “So many young coaches get out of it real quickly, and part of that is the time commitment and high expectations.”

Now Hilton believes his coaching roots will help ease this transition to his newest role.

After starting in early July, Hilton’s first priority was meeting all the Lawrence High coaches. He wants to work with the coaches, helping them stay excited about what they are doing. Hilton wants to build relationships and mentor younger coaches.

“I just want to find out what they need and what I can do for them,” Hilton said. “We have really good coaches here and people who care about kids. That was one of the things that excited me about coming here. It’s good to be in this type of role and I’m excited about it.”

For now, Hilton has no immediate plans to make major changes. He hopes to spend the first year observing the way the athletic program operates, making a few tweaks along the way when needed.

“I don’t have any expectation of coming in and changing anything right away,” Hilton said. “Not very many things are broken, so there is no reason to come in and try and put my stamp on it until I learn how things are done.”


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