While he admitted the move might have caught some people by surprise, Ray Kauling had his eyes on an opportunity like this for some time.
Kauling, a former head football coach at Centralia High and Mater Dei High, was hired Thursday as the new athletic director at Wesclin High School.
“It might catch some people off guard, but I’ve always wanted to be an AD and this is a great opportunity and great timing for me,” said the 40-year-old Kauling. “Those jobs just don’t open very often. It was a tough decision, but the right opportunity at the right time. It was the best decision for me to move into a new position and advance my career.”
Kauling said he will no longer be coaching football. Instead, he will focus on his athletic director duties and teach driver’s education. He replaces Wesclin athletic director Tom Hund, who is retiring at the end of this school year.
Kauling helped stage a remarkable turnaround with the struggling Centralia Orphans football program. He took over a team that had lost 35 straight games and endured three straight winless seasons and after 1-8 and 3-6 seasons, got the Orphans into the state football playoffs in 2011 with an 8-2 squad.
Centralia also qualified for the playoffs in 2012 and 2015, finishing 9-2 last season. Kauling’s teams were 39-28 in seven seasons.
“We had a lot of good help and support from the administration and my coaching staff was excellent.,” Kauling said “The kids were really good, too. It’s a program that I think has got some stability now and the biggest thing is for them continue on with it.”
Before taking the job at Centralia, Kauling had a successful eight-year run as the head football coach at Mater Dei. He guided the Knights to a a 64-25 record that included a runner-up finish in the 2006 Class 4A state championship game.
Mater Dei qualified for the playoffs in six of Kauling’s eight seasons.
Kauling said he will miss coaching football, but looks at his athletic director position as being a head coach of the Wesclin sports programs.
“It’s a good school district, there’s a lot of good people on staff there and really good support,” Kauling said..”I’m excited about the challenge and the change in my life. I’m just ready to get started.”
“We probably had about 15 to 20 candidates who applied for the job,” Wesclin Superintendent Jennifer Filyaw said. “He’s someone who we were very impressed with during his interview and after talking with him felt he would be a really good fit for our district. Mr. Hund has done a very good job for our school district, too.”
Filyaw said Kauling had taken on some administrative duties at Centralia and is nearing completion on his master’s degree.
“We’re impressed with some ideas that he’s bringing to our program,” Filyaw said. “He has some great ideas on ways to bring our coaching programs together. He has lots of experience and we want to bring more of a district-wide approach to things. He’s very well respect in the areas, too.”