The more Kyle Rodenkirk entertained the idea of a change, the more it grew on him.
The more he listened to the pitch from Linn-Mar’s administration the more he felt like taking a swing at it.
“I pondered it,” said Rodenkirk, who coached at Cedar Rapids Jefferson the last five seasons. “It seemed like a good fit.”
Rodenkirk confirmed that he will be the new head baseball coach at Linn-Mar in a phone interview with The Gazette on Tuesday. Linn-Mar made the announcement Monday via its official athletics account on Twitter.
Rodenkirk is leaving the post at his alma mater to take over for Chad Lechner, who coached the Lions for 16 seasons and resigned after taking them to the 2017 Class 4A state quarterfinals. He met and informed the J-Hawk baseball players Monday afternoon. A meeting with Linn-Mar players is set for today.
“It was tough,” Rodenkirk said about the decision. “This is a great opportunity for me and my family. I’m looking forward to it.”
The hire is a return of sorts. Rodenkirk served as an assistant coach to Lechner in 2012, helping the Lions reach the 4A state quarterfinals.
“The Lions welcome new head baseball coach Kyle Rodenkirk!” the Linn-Mar Athletics Twitter account posted, which was shared by an account dedicated to Linn-Mar Community School District news.
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Linn-Mar was 21-19 last season. Rodenkirk said the facilities, strong youth program and a nucleus of players with state experience played a factor in the decision.
“There is a lot of potential,” Rodenkirk said. “They have some young talent. The facilities are second to none.”
Rodenkirk left Linn-Mar to lead the Jefferson program, recording a 116-82 mark and leading them to the 2016 4A state quarterfinals. He also guided Jefferson to a share of the Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division title with Iowa City West in 2015.
Rodenkirk was head coach at Anamosa for two seasons before his year as a Linn-Mar assistant. He was also an assistant at Jefferson from 2005-09.
A standout catcher from 1997 to 2002, Rodenkirk earned all-Metro, all-conference and all-district honors at Jefferson. He continued his career playing one season at the University of Iowa (2002) before transferring to Winona State University from 2003-07.
“I love Jefferson,” said Rodenkirk, who had said it was his dream job. “There comes a time in your career to go out and lead a different program.”
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