Why would highly successful boys basketball coach Ken Kazmarek want to be athletic director at Broadneck High School?
Why would anyone want to be an athletic director, period?
Friday, Kaz, who has led the Bruins for the past eight years, became athletic director, a position that ranks as one of the county's most thankless, if not the most thankless job.
Kevin McMullen, who succeeded his brother, Tim, as the Bruins' A.D. resigned after just one year on the job.
The McMullens say the job consumes too much time and offers little compensation for anyone who is married with a family.
County athletic directors are given one free period a day to perform a full-time job.
The job involves hiring and firing coaches, scheduling boys and girls varsity and JV contests, and arranging transportation and game officials. The A.D. must keep abreast of student eligibility, monitor gate revenues and fund-raisers and attend scores of meetings -- school, county, state and community.
Add to that the headaches created by the student-athletes, coaches and parents when problems arise.
All problems related to athletics ultimately end up on the A.D.'s desk, and if one allows the immense stress to get to him, it can turn a 37-year-old, such as Kaz, into a 50-year-old overnight.
Heart attacks and health problems are not uncommon for athletic directors.
"I guess some people would congratulate me and some would feel sorry for me," said Kaz of his new job.
"After spending some time with Mr. [principal Lawrence] Knight and Tim [McMullen], I realized the importance of keeping the consistency in the athletic program at our school. The last thing we wanted to happen was to bring in somebody new. I'm an instrument of maintenance."
In other words, Kaz sees himself as someone who will carry on the winning tradition at Broadneck orchestrated by Tim McMullen in 1982 (first varsity teams) and carried on by his brother, Kevin, for the past year.
The McMullen era featured nearly 30 county and 30 regional titles and 12 state championships, including the 4A boys lacrosse title this spring.
Imagine, all those championships from a school that has had varsity sports for only a decade. That is quite a compliment to Tim McMullen, who still offers valuable advice and is the JV baseball coach.
At the same time, Tim will be the first to tell you that the Bruins are successful because the people in the department work together. Look at any successful high school athletic program, and I'm sure you will find a very cohesive staff.
During the "McMullen Decade," Broadneck has ranked among the county's best, and there is no reason to believe that the excellence will not continue under the colorful Kaz.
The average sports fan and parent around the county pictures Kaz as the brilliant coach with the often-annoying squeaky voice. His ability to make the Bruins competitive year in and year out has been well documented.
In his eight years at the helm, the Bruins have gone 140-54 (.721 percentage), making the playoffs every year and extending his personal string of consecutive playoff appearances to nine. Last year's team was upset in the first round of the 4A Region IV playoffs by eventual region champion Old Mill and finished 14-10 overall.
The three prior years (1989-1991), the Bruins went 62-11, finishing as Region IV runner-up to Annapolis all three seasons. The 1988-1989 team was 22-2, with both losses to Annapolis.
Twice named The Anne Arundel County Sun Coach of the Year (1984-1985 and 1987-1988), Kaz joined the Broadneck faculty as a science teacher and coached the Bruins' JV basketball team for one year under Jim Morris. He was head coach at Arundel High for one season (1983-1984), going 11-12 overall, before taking over as Bruins head coach in 1984.
The 1983-1984 campaign was the last time the Arundel Wildcats have been to the boys hoops playoffs.
In addition to his success on the court, Kaz has been making other contributions to the Broadneck athletic program that may have gone unnoticed by the fans at other schools. For the past eight years, Kaz also has served as an assistant in football and baseball, responsibilities he may have to relinquish with his new job.
"I'm going to have to give up at least one assistant coaching position, but with football just around the corner I can't leave Jeff [Herrick head football coach] hanging without an assistant," said Kaz. "I've been looking to rid myself of coaching three sports, and we will work it out because that's what we do at Broadneck.
"Athletic director at Broadneck is not just a one-man job. It's often a four- to five-person job. Bruce Villwock, who will stay as assistant A.D., is invaluable to our athletic program, and, of course, Tim and Kevin will be a lot of help to me, too."
Kevin will remain head coach of the boys soccer team and will offer his services to Kaz whenever he needs them.
"Things should continue rather smoothly because of the staff we have at Broadneck," said Kaz. "Mr. Knight likes to be able to turn over the athletic department to people he can trust to get the job done.
"Somebody has to do this job, and it's hard to say who would have applied if Mr. Knight had opened it up to interviews. There are a lot of good people around the county, like Jim Dillon [Old Mill] and Mike Baker [North County], who still want to do this job. And, thank God, those schools still have people like them."
Kaz pointed out that it is important for an A.D. to know his school. And that's precisely what appealed to Knight when he made Kaz his choice.
"Mr. Knight will have someone willing to do the legwork as he has had in the past, and someone who will put in the time," Kaz promised.
Broadneck has an enrollment of approximately 1,150, and Kaz sees the school continuing to grow. He would like to see ninth-graders, who are eligible for interscholastic and extracurricular activities, relocated from middle schools to the high school building.
"I attended a County Council meeting about a month ago, and, at that time, money was approved to start construction of an addition to our school for ninth-graders," said Kaz. "But until we see the trucks and workers out there, we can't get too excited. But I do expect to see it happen within the next five years."
Exciting times could be ahead for Broadneck with the enthusiastic Kaz at the helm. Knight managed to keep the
athletic director's position in the "family," and find someone with the perfect attitude for the job.
You don't get rich being an A.D. The full-time job with part-time compensation starts at just under $3,000 and escalates with experience. Anyone who takes the job and gives it his best is not doing it for the money, but rather for the kids, school and community.
For that, people in the Broadneck community should be thrilled and appreciative that Ken Kazmarek is succeeding the McMullens. It should be business as usual in Cape St. Claire, because as McKazmarek -- er Kaz -- says, he's merely "an instrument of maintenance."
The Bruin tradition will be maintained.