COLLINSVILLE — Collinsville High School Athletic Director Chris Kusnerick was notified Tuesday by Unit 10 Superintendent Dr. Robert Green that he will not remain in that position after the end of the school year.
At its regular meeting Monday night, the school board voted to terminate Kusnerick as the athletic director while also announcing that he had been reassigned to a social studies teaching position, a non-administrative role, at the high school.
But Kusnerick, in his fourth year as the athletic director, wants to remain in that job and has secured the services of attorney Brian Schwartz, of the Illinois Principal's Association in Springfield, to represent him against the Unit 10 school board.
"My plan is to fight it. I'm keeping the faith," Kusnerick said Thursday morning.
The next board meeting is March 18, but it has not yet been determined whether that will be the date Schwartz meets the board in executive session to discuss Kusnerick's future.
Kusnerick said the deadline to resolve the issue is April 1, when teachers, administrators and coaches are officially rehired, or released, for the 2013-14 school year.
Green said that is "approximately" the deadline.
Citing the pending meeting with Schwartz, Green offered little information about the reasons for Kusnerick's dismissal.
"Officially, he has been reassigned as a classroom teacher, and that's really all I can say," said Green, 59, in his first year as the Unit 10 superintendent. "I can't go into specifics about personnel. I'm not going to go there. He's hired an attorney and I've just got to be careful about what I say."
Kusnerick replaced Bob Bone as Collinsville's varsity boys basketball coach in May 2005 and also was the assistant athletic director under Bob Hollingshead.
Kusnerick resigned as coach in July 2009 and replaced Matt Badgley as the athletic director. Darin Lee was hired away from Nashville High to replace Kusnerick as coach, and Lee has been Kusnerick's assistant athletic director since 2009.
"It's something I've enjoyed quite a bit the last four years," Kusnerick said of being the athletic director.
Belleville West Athletic Director Bill Schmidt said Kusnerick has been a pleasure to work with over the years.
"From my standpoint as a fellow athletic director in the Southwestern Conference, Chris Kusnerick has been an absolutely fabulous AD and has been a great representative for both Collinsville, in our conference, and for the Southwestern Conference throughout the state of Illinois with the IHSA (Illinois High School Association)," Schmidt said.
"I've always found him to be very knowledgeable. I've always found him to be right on top of all the different tasks that an AD has to do. I can say nothing but very good and kind words about Chris Kusnerick as far as an athletic director is concerned."
Schmidt said other SWC athletic directors also respect Kusnerick.
"I've never heard bad words from anybody about Chris, and I know everybody probably feels the same way as far as his professionalism and as far as his dedication to high school athletics is concerned," Schmidt said. "I would give Chris Kusnerick a high recommendation to anybody who would ask me about his job as AD."
Harry Brandt, 62, of Collinsville, has known Kusnerick since 2005 and has worked as a volunteer for many years at the annual Collinsville-Schnucks Holiday Classic.
The boys basketball tournament, which will celebrate its 30th year in December, is regarded as one of the best in the state, and Brandt said Kusnerick is one of the main reasons for its success.
"The way the tournament ran this last year was the best," Brandt said. "It's more than a job. He really puts his heart and soul into it and does those little extra things."
Brandt lauded Kusnerick's organizational skills and complimented him for the way he treats people.
"He is the consummate professional," Brandt said. "He's absolutely detailed. He's the most organized person I've ever met in my life. Plus, he's pleasant to work with.
"He's innovative, and not only that, he's true to the history of Collinsville. He's the best we've ever worked with. The human being he is ... is phenomenal. I have the highest regard for the man."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2665.