LAGRANGE — Kyle Grossman was approved as the new Lakeland Athletic Director Monday at the Lakeland Board of School Trustees meeting. Grossman will start his role effective July 1.
“I’m just excited,” Grossman said. “I’m excited for this community, I’m excited to do some good things. I’m excited to work with everybody and really build that trust, build those relationships and start them from a young age — just engage everybody and get them excited and committed for what we’re going to do in the future.”
Lakeland runs in the blood of Grossman. He’s a 2007 graduate of the high school and his wife, Alexis, is a 2008 alum. Being able to lead the athletic program of the high school he went to means a lot to Grossman.
“It’s very special to me; special to my family,” Grossman said. “My son goes to Lakeland pre-school that they have now, so it just means more.”
Grossman has spent the past six seasons coaching both the boys and girls tennis teams at Lakeland. While he’ll no longer be coaching the tennis team because of his new role, he hopes the familiarity with the students will help as the new AD.
“I think it helps to be involved in it,” Grossman said. “I’ve definitely evolved as a coach as far as what I’m looking for. When I took over the program, it was like, ‘OK, we’re going to start winning now.’ It’s kind of evolved to where we’re looking to meet our student-athletes needs the most, and that keeps them committed and wanting to come back. We’re in a position where we’re trying to work for them and give them what they can get out of the most of their high school experience.”
Grossman spent the past five years as a special education teacher at Meadowview Elementary in Shipshewana. He will be leaving those teaching duties for this new role.
Grossman replaces Roman Smith, who spent the last three years as Lakeland’s AD. Smith will be starting a new job as the Warsaw assistant AD come the fall.
“The biggest thing that Roman did was help us take several big steps forward from a competition and culture standpoint,” said Grossman of the departing Smith. “You get stuck in these small communities sometimes where you don’t change many things, and I think that was the biggest thing for (Smith): he had the will and commitment to do things a little bit differently and take us forward in the way high school sports is evolving. That’s the biggest thing I hope to keep going from him.”
One of the challenges Grossman anticipates is sustaining sports engagement with the athletes.
“The kids today like to play Fortnite and we’re not making athletics as accessible to them as we can, in my opinion,” Grossman said. “We’re not creating that commitment, that loyalty, that love for the game at a younger age and I think we can start doing that. … getting them to play the sport, keeping them involved and playing multiple sports and getting them to come to events, too. Attendance is a big thing that I want to look to increase.”
Grossman and his wife have three children: Case, 4, Charlotte, 2, and Colt, six months.