Knott's resignation leaves coaching void at Edgerton
Some career moves are more difficult than others.
A major part of Jason Knott's professional life the last 13 years has included whistles, practices and bus rides.
That will be absent next school year.
Knott, who has coached at Edgerton High School and been an instructor/administrator at the Edgerton Middle School for 15 years, will take over as principal at J.C. McKenna Middle School in Evansville next year.
Although he had earned 30 college credits to earn a master's degree and 30 more for an administrative degree to qualify to be a principal, moving to a different district and cutting ties to coaching tested Knott's convictions.
“It doesn't get any harder than that,” Knott said Wednesday night after the Evansville board of education approved his hiring. “I just followed my heart.”
The increased intrusion into the public school system by state legislators led Knott into considering leaving the classroom for administration.
“I felt I had little control in the classroom,” Knott said. “I feel in administration you have a little more impact on education.”
In addition, Knott and his wife, Emily, have three young daughters ages 4, 2 and 7 months. Jason and Emily, who also teaches at Edgerton Middle School, had to make a decision where their young family was going to go to school.
But taking that step into administration ends what had been a major part of Jason Knott.
He spent seven years as head boys track and field coach, nine years as assistant girls varsity basketball coach, 13 years as head volleyball coach and three years as head boys basketball coach.
The Pittsville native's accomplishments in sporting venues won't be forgotten.
He is believed to be the only head coach in Edgerton High history to win conference titles in three different sports.
His track and field teams won the Rock Valley North dual meet titles in 2011 and 2012.
While an assistant girls basketball coach, the Crimson Tide won its only conference title in school history in the 2010-2011 season.
In 13 seasons as girls volleyball coach, Knott earned four Rock Valley coach of the year titles while running up a 341-92 record including four conference titles and a 44-match conference win streak.
The UW-Whitewater graduate got the boys basketball team revved up with an up-tempo offense in his three seasons. That peaked this season when the Crimson Tide went 20-4, which tied a school record for most wins in a season and had the best start in school history by winning their first 15 games.
Knott walks away from that team, which is junior-dominated.
He met with the players after he accepted the Evansville offer last Wednesday.
Knott admitted it was emotional.
“They had one request,” Knott said. “That said when they play Evansville next season that if I watched they wanted me to wear neutral colors.”
Clothing is indeed an issue.
“My closet has to undertake a drastic overhaul,” Knott said. “Everything I own is red or gray. I don't know if I own any blue things.”
That will change.
And Knott knows folks from both towns will scrutinize his move from Edgerton to its main rival Evansville.
“The towns are so similar,” he said. “That's why I think it's such a rivalry. People see a lot of themselves in each other.”
Knott says that five years ago he was set on being a basketball coach until he retired.
He was reminded of what he was undertaking even when he was walking into the Wednesday's school board meeting.
“When we were walking into the building, kids were playing basketball in the fieldhouse to the right of where we were walking,” Knott said.
“I almost turned right and headed to the gym. It's like a dog chasing a squirrel.”
But he stayed the course and turned left.
Times change all our plans. But times can's change what is in our core.