Chesterton Tribune



Garry Nallenweg to be honored for 20 years as CHS Athletic Director

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He’s a lifer.

Nobody knows Chesterton High School and its Athletics Department like Garry Nallenweg does.

“It’s very important that I’ve been here my whole life,” Nallenweg said. “I hope the next person has as much pride in this place as I do. Anybody can go through the motions, but you do it for the kids, the school and the community.”

And that has always been at the forefront of Nallenweg’s mind.

“Whenever I’m done, I’ll miss the student-athlete’s and all the relationships with all the colleague’s, coaches, officials and support staff. The associations and friendships you make over the years will be hard to see go.”

“He’s run a great Athletic Department at Chesterton for a lot of years,” former CHS football coach and current Crown Point Athletic Director Bill Dorulla said. “He probably puts in too much time at Chesterton and he works so hard for the student-athletes. It’s a model for how you want an Athletic Department to be run.”

“It’s insane to summarize what Garry has meant to the CHS Athletic Department,” former long-time CHS swim coach Kevin Kinel said. “I knew he would do a great job, because he treats every coach and every sport equally. There is that kind of culture at Chesterton that every sport is important.”

Nallenweg, a 1973 grad of CHS, returned to teach in the Duneland School Corporation after getting his degree from Indiana University. He taught for 16 years while coaching “2-3 sports” a year before getting into administration.

“I got into administration because I was concerned with the direction I saw CHS going in the ’90’s,” Nallenweg said.

In 1995, he was hired as an Assistant Principal and spent five years in that role before becoming Athletic Director.

“I really felt like we were following the mission of the school corporation at the time and I felt good about things,” Nallenweg said of the decision to become AD. “We had just built this new school and facility and I was already going to everything. I decided to get back into the coaching arena and it would give me a chance to be an advocate for CHS, 75 coaches and the athletics program.

“I missed being involved in athletics.”

Kinel, who grew up with Nallenweg, remembers the conversation when interest in the AD job arose.

“We were playing golf at Mink Lake when (former CHS AD) Mel Bair was talking about being done and (Garry) was talking about throwing his hat in the ring,” Kinel said. “I told him ‘it’s a no brainer. You are exactly what that job needs.’ He had the passion and dedication that it needed.”

Nallenweg is quick to acknowledge the people that stood beside him through the ups and downs -- his family.

“It was a wonderful time in my life to see my three kids (Adam, Bryan and Kirstyn) participate in athletics at CHS,” Nallenweg said. “It was icing on the cake for me. I didn’t have to miss my children’s activities because of my job and having them involved in sports made me so proud. Two of them have come back here into the education arena and it was such a positive experience for all of us.

“You have to have an extremely supportive wife (Mary) and family when you put in the hours that go with having this job.”

“He’s like the energizer bunny. He’s at every event, no matter where it is in the State,” Kinel said. “I don’t think people realize the scope of his job. It’s an impossible job that he’s made possible. He’s always jumped into everything with both feet. That kind of work ethic, intensity and passion for athletics and his job is a lost art. I can’t imagine the amount of hours he puts in.”

There have been lots of changes in high school athletics over the years, but Nallenweg feels blessed to have had several long-time coaches on staff.

“Coaching longevity helps my job,” Nallenweg said. “We’ve had coaches that have been here for a long time and that have been inducted into their sports Hall of Fame’s. Those people are respected and have put in the years and that’s invaluable.”

“I feel fortunate to have had him as my AD for the last 20 years,” Kinel said. “As someone who grew up with him and has him as one of my best friends, I got called on things if I messed up. He’ll support you blindly, but he’ll let you know if you screw up.”

Nallenweg also expressed gratitude to the Duneland School Board and the community.

“The community support we’ve had and the support within our school system has been second to none,” Nallenweg said. “I’ve worked for some extremely supportive people and you have to have that support or things can get messy. I’ve had a wonderful situation, working for some great people.

“You’ll get no complaints from me.”



Posted 10/11/2019




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