Coach Kuhn to retire from coaching

By Amy Nankin

As lights shine down on the grass field, football players come sprinting out from behind the goal post in their black helmets with the blue W glistening. Coach Kuhn, clapping and cheering, takes his usual spot on the sidelines with his headphones over his ears, microphone by his mouth and clipboard in his hands like he has done every Friday night for the past 20 years.

After 10 years as an assistant football coach and 10 years as Whitman football’s varsity head coach, Jim Kuhn has decided to retire. Although he will no longer be coaching football, he will be continuing as a math teacher.

“It’s a time commitment thing. It’s really overwhelming because I’m trying to teach math at a very high level and coach at the same time. It just took a tremendous amount of time to do both,” Kuhn said. “You can only push that hard for a finite amount of time. Then eventually you have to scale back, so this year I did it.”

As coach Kuhn leaves his familiar post as head coach, the job position has been posted on MCPS’ website and is currently open to the public. Former assistant coach John Floyd and Kuhn are heading an interview committee and will help with the transition process as the team goes into next season.

Before the position opened to the public, Kuhn called all of his players and staff into his classroom to explain his reasoning and announce his resignation. The announcement came as a big shock to many players on the team.

“The whole room just got really quiet. Nobody knew how to respond when he told us he was resigning,” junior defensive end John Luke Iglesias said. “Immediately after, people just starting clapping. A few guys were getting teary eyed and we were all just really surprised.”

Kuhn knew that his resignation would be hardest for the junior class because most had only played one year for him and will be starting their senior year with a new coach. However, it’s also a big adjustment for Floyd who has been working alongside Kuhn for the past 10 years. Floyd is uncertain about the continuation of his assistant coaching career, but is willing to offer his services to whomever is chosen to fill the head coaching position, he said.  

“I’m the type of person where I’m either going to coach at Whitman or not coach at all,” Floyd said. “Kuhn’s resignation is sad, but he has definitely earned a break. He’s put more time and effort into this program than everyone else combined.”

Through Kuhn’s countless hours spent with the team, he was able to form close bonds with the players and see who they were outside of the classroom, one of his favorite parts of coaching, he said.

“Unless you do something outside the classroom with kids, you really have no idea what drives a kid or motivates a person,” Kuhn said. “Through coaching, I was able to see who kids really were and what motivates them as a person and a player.”

Kuhn saw this firsthand with many of his senior players who he was able to see grow as players and people through their years on the team. Although the seniors are also moving on, this announcement marked the end of an era for them too.

Coach Kuhn has been a really positive impact on my life. He always put me in positions where he knew I would succeed.

— senior Jack McClelland

“It was hard for me to see him leave because he put our program in a really great position so this change is going to be hard for the juniors,” senior Jack McClelland said. “Coach Kuhn has been a really positive impact on my life. He always put me in positions where he knew I would succeed. He trusted me with all the trick plays and kept telling me to go with my instincts and play bigger than I am, which I had to do.”

Coach Kuhn has had a lasting impact on McClelland and many other players throughout his time as a coach; now he looks forward to what comes next for him and the team.

“I definitely want to stay involved with the school and maybe join some leadership committees or help Wetzel with sports coordinating,” Kuhn said. “ [But] I’ve had my time and I’m not going to judge or be involved with their new team. They need to put their own stamp on the program.”