New Alpha in the Wolf Den: Athletic Director Dana Krilich

By Michael McKay, Sports Editor

One of the newest faces of the Niles West staff is the school’s Athletic Director, Dr. Dana Krilich. With a contagious smile and friendly manner, Krilich is ecstatic to begin her new gig, and she is packed with plans to improve Niles West’s Athletic Department.

Previously being not only the Assistant Athletic Director at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, Krilich was also a head girls basketball coach, tennis coach, and a teacher.

“I’ve coached for the last nine [years], I was a head girls basketball coach and tennis coach. I had one year of [tennis coaching] experience and my friend had none, but we took over the program, and within seven years, we won conference and qualified a girl for state,” Krilich said. “Just having those opportunities and being able to get more into the administrative side of athletics is very exciting.”

After she got her doctoral degree, she knew it was time to find a new direction. Krilich wanted to dive deep into the administrative side of athletics, and an opportunity arose when she saw the West Athletic Director job posting.

“I finally finished my doctoral program a year ago in May, and I knew I was ready to take that step to leave the classroom. I was looking for jobs and [the NW Athletic Director job] was posted. I knew right from that first round of interviews what a great place West is. I’m so excited to be here–everyone has been awesome,” Krilich said.

One of her goals is to introduce herself to the athletes in each sport, and even create a club where student athletes can meet with her on a regular basis and give her feedback on how they feel about the department.

“I think a big thing is to try to engage our athletes more and get their opinions. I want to try to start some sort of captain’s club. We need to create a core leadership team so we can actually get some work done,” Krilich said. Her priority? “Getting feedback on what [athletes] like here, what’s great, and what we can work on because ultimately we’re here for [them].”

Krilich, along with her Assistant Athletic Director, Ms. Terri Laux, are heavily pushing social media as a way to grow programs and increase visibility. She updates the Athletic Department’s Twitter account (@WolvesD219), and she expects each West athletic program to create and use twitter handles to attract support for their teams.

“I’m really big with social media and I want to try and engage more people. The great thing with social media is that I really want to try and attract obviously more fans, but get more people in the stands,” Krilich said.

Though this is a change for West’s athletics, having teams represented on social media may increase exposure and participation.

“[Krilich] came in and [social media] was one of her big initiatives. I think she’s getting the coaches on board. Not only the coaches but also student activities. It’s an effort to unify the school as a whole,” Laux said.

Krilich has overwhelming support all over the school from many different departments. One of the departments she works with is the Athletic Training Department. Athletic trainer Laura Gorski looks forward to working with her.

“I think so far [Krilich] has done a great job. I think she has her work cut out for her, but I think she has all the skills and tools that she needs to do amazing things here. I look forward to working with her, and I hope she accomplishes what she’s set out to do,” Gorski said.

Krilich’s motivated mind-set does not go unrecognized.

“[Krilich] is very eager to learn and very willing to understand what we do and how we do it, not only at Niles West, but district level, CSL level, and so on. We’re looking forward to the rest of the year and her career,” Laux said.

When she’s not busy being an athletic director or a coach, Krilich can be found watching sports and cheering for her favorite college football team: the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

“I love watching sports, I like going to actual events. I’m a die-hard, obnoxious Notre Dame football fan. I actually went to St. Mary’s of Notre Dame. If we don’t do good, I get quiet, but if we’re doing really good, I get louder,” Krilich said.

With all her passion for sports, Krilich plans to practice with each individual sports team throughout the year.  She hopes to build strong relationships with all of the athletes and coaches, but also have a little fun along the way.

“I’m going to be practicing with all the sports. I’m really into themes, so with the golf team I had my golf outfit and hat. With football, I definitely want the face paint. Go big or go home,” Krilich said. “I love having fun and making people have fun, and I’m willing to make myself the butt of the joke if need be. I really just want to get to know the kids. That’s why I’m in education–for you guys.”

Feel free to stop into the Athletic Dept. Office and say hello, or wave her down at your next practice.