Catching Up with Mike Kmetz, Athletic Director

Amy Dempster

 

Mike Kmetz is the Athletic Director at Carroll School and also teaches PE, manages the Extended Day program for Carroll's Middle & Upper Schools, and coordinates every detail of Fall Festival. Coach Kmetz is in his 35th year at Carroll School.

Carroll School's athletics program is an integral part of the student experience at our Middle and Upper schools. Just walk around campus and you'll see evidence of Hawk pride - sports shirts being worn, equipment propped against lockers waiting to be used, fields being mowed for the day's game. None of this would be possible without the dedication of Carroll's Athletic Director - Mike Kmetz.

Today, we're "catching up with Coach Kmetz" to hear firsthand from the man himself.

Catching Up with Kmetz

Let's start with some sports stats and facts. What does Carroll School Athletics look like today?

Carroll School offers 9 sports for its Middle and Upper school students to participate in - soccer, flag football, cross country, golf, basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, track and field, and ultimate frisbee. We estimate there will be 20 total teams this year.

Our fall season ended yesterday. We had 123 athletes participate across our four fall sports led by 10 coaches (thank you!). Our final record across all sports was: 23 wins / 21 losses / 4 ties.

What do you find most rewarding about your role as Athletic Director?

Girls' Basketball Game at Carroll School

Watching the students grow from 6th to 8th grade, not just physically but the growth in athletic skills and social skills is remarkable. Three years ago, we had a 6th grade girls basketball team. Many of the girls had never played before. They didn't win a single game that season. Most kids would be discouraged and quit. These girls celebrated every basket made that season. Over the next two years, they worked hard to learn the game and ended up with 4 wins/4 losses in 7th grade and only 1 loss in 8th grade. Their determination and sportsmanship carried them through -- it was so rewarding to watch.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Hands down ... scheduling basketball. We have 7 teams, 2 gyms (Lower School and Middle School), and games and practices to be scheduled for each team. Plus, there is coordinating transportation between campuses and for away games.

How has the sports program changed from when you started 35 years ago?

When I started, there were 3 teams for 3 sports: basketball, soccer, and track and field. The teams were co-ed because there were just not a lot of girls enrolled at Carroll to form girls' teams. When we opened the Waltham campus, it opened up more opportunity to grow enrollment in grades 6-8. That meant we also needed to offer more Extended Day offerings and could expand our sports program. As we continued to grow in size, we were able to add new sports to our roster, put together more teams, and face more competitive opponents at schools such as Fenn, Fessenden, Faye, Shady Hill, Park, Brimmer, etc.

How has the new Wayland campus and athletics fields changed the program?

Like when we opened the Waltham campus, the opening of the Wayland campus allowed the Upper School program to enroll more students. With new students came more student athletes. Most importantly, though, it opened up the opportunity for new sports programs. Moving soccer and lacrosse practices and games to the Wayland fields, we now offer ultimate frisbee and flag football, using our Lincoln field.

How do you see the sports program evolving at Carroll?

I would love to add baseball and softball to our spring program and volleyball to our fall program. Kids are itching for those. It comes down to being able to find fields and gym space to practice and play at. Middle school is the perfect time to allow students to try new sports, see if they like it. I was catching up with alum, Stewart Strong '17, recently. In 6th grade at Carroll, he tried cross country for the first time. Now, he's in high school and still running and thriving. I hear this often from many of our alums - Eline Laurent '14 who was one of the best female runners at Carroll and now running at Amherst College and Teddy Loughborough '10 who was one of our first hockey goalies and went onto play at St. Sebastian's and Trinity College.

What was one highlight from the fall sports season?

Cross Country at Carroll School

Watching the cross country team evolve into a powerhouse. We had 32 runners this year and we closed the season with 8 wins, 1 loss. The team ran a combined 3,000 miles in 10 weeks. There were so many standout moments but one notable accomplishment is from 7th grader, CJ Briere, who finished 1st place in 7 of our 9 meets.

How do you manage all this plus your "day" job as PE teacher?

If it wasn’t for faculty who also dedicate their afterschool hours to coaching our athletes, there is no way the sports program could work. I'm so grateful for each and every teacher/coach that does "double duty" for Carroll. It's also remarkable to see alums (Liz Prescott, Mike Copacino, Meghan Doolan) come back to the school to teach ... and coach.

Fess up ... were you the one behind using a hawk as the Carroll mascot?

Carroll School Sports Mascot Hawk

Not at all. Larry Brown was the PE teacher back in the 1970's and he owns that bragging right. I think the story goes like this ... There was a hawk, or group of hawks, flying over the soccer field one day and he just decided.

NOTE FROM LARRY BROWN: Actually the Hawk mascot predates my time at Carroll. When I arrived in the mid 70's the school color of blue and the mascot were in place.

Favorite Boston sports team and why.

Patriots. Say no more.

***

The Wayland campus and fields would not be possible without the generous support of Carroll’s Board of Trustees and the many individuals and families who continue to partner with us through our campaign, If Not for Carroll. Please contact Naomi Hitchcock or Sandy Potter to learn about how you can contribute to this project.

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