MHS names Craig Huegel as long-time AD Bell’s replacement

The man who will take over for long-time activities director Tim Bell has been found. And he has the Marshalltown School Board’s approval.

Craig Huegel will be the new activities director at Marshalltown High School, beginning July 1.

“My family and I are thrilled to be joining a strong legacy of athletic and activity distinction in Marshalltown,” said Huegel, who will finish up his duties as activities director at Martensdale-St. Marys at the end of June. “I look forward to giving my very best, along with all of our students, coaches and sponsors, to create the best possible experiences for students.”

Huegel has been activities director and at-risk coordinator at Martensdale-St. Marys for the past two years and also was the activities director at North Polk High School from 2007-2011. He brings the perfect blend of youth, experience and passion to the job, according to Marshalltown High School Principal Aiddy Phomvisay, who was one of many involved in the hiring process.

“We were extremely pleased with all of our final four candidates,” Phomvisay said. “Coach Huegel has had proven success, is hard working and has a great personality. He brings a lot to the table. We are lucky to have him.”

Huegel will replace Bell, who is retiring at the end of the school year and has been activities director at Marshalltown since 1999.

“We will definitely miss Mr. Bell and are greatful for his many years of service,” Phomvisay said.

Phomvisay said there were 20 applicants for the position, and a committee of coaches, staff members, students and parents narrowed the search down to four. Huegel accepted the job last week and was officially hired when the MHS School Board announced its approval at Monday’s monthly meeting.

“I have heard a lot of good things about Marshalltown,” Huegel said. “It is a good opportunity for me to move into a bigger school district. MHS has great tradition, and I am looking forward to continuing that.

“The community is diverse and growing. And I know that we can capitalize on that, as well.”

Huegel was a part of a few state championships during his short time at Martensdale-St. Marys. The Blue Devil baseball and softball teams both hoisted title trophies last season, and Huegel hopes that kind of success can follow him to Marshalltown.

“I was lucky enough to be associated with some great coaches at Martensdale-St. Marys,” he said. “That is a key attribute. I know we have good coaches at Marshalltown, too.”

Marshalltown is in a bit of a transition with some of the athletic programs. Huegel will step into the role as activities director in July but hopes the school can find a football coach before the school is dismissed in June. There also are open positions expected in boy’s track and field and baseball following this season.

“It is a double-edged sword for me,” said Huegel, who is a graduate of New Hampton High School. “I hate to lose good people, but I also am excited to bring in new coaches and begin developing great relationships with some great people.”

Huegel said the first step in creating a winning atmosphere on and off the playing field, is hiring great coaches. Then it is up to the student-athletes to buy into what the coaches are teaching.

“Hiring good coaches is the first step in my opinion,” Huegel said. “That is part of my job. Then the kids need to put in the work. They need to buy in and trust in what their coaches are telling them. They need to understand the greater good.

“The CIML is the toughest league in the entire state, so we will have our hands full. But we won’t make excuses. We will give all we have.”

There are three things Huegel will look for when hiring a football coach – and any coach moving forward.

“The No. 1 thing I look for is that the person has passion,” he said. “Passion for the sport, passion for the kids and passion for growth. I also want the coaches to have a plan – what to do and how to do it. They also have to be grounded in the fundamentals.”

While Huegel doesn’t officially start until July, he said he wants to be around the community and school activities as much as his current job priorities will allow. He was in town last night for the board meeting and will be at MHS today.

“I want to be involved as much as I possibly can,” Huegel said. “Coach Bell and I are working on transitioning me into the position and I want to see the kids in action before July 1, as well.”

And if you are a fan of social media, Huegel has you covered there, too.

“I actually created a twitter account for the entire Martensdale-St. Marys athletic department,” he said. “I didn’t think I would like it at first, but it is another venue for communication. I actually enjoy it now. The athletes are tied into that stuff, so it is just another way to communicate with them and their parents. And it is a way to celebrate our triumphs.”

Huegel is married with two kids. He and his wife Jen are about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Their oldest child is 6-year-old Andrew and their youngest is 20-month-old Kerigan.

After graduating from New Hampton High School, Huegel got a degree in social sciences from Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in educational administration from Drake University.

While at North Polk, Huegel also was an assistant football coach and head boy’s track coach. He previously taught and coached at Paton-Churdan (JSPC) and Oskaloosa.

“I am honored to be able to collaborate with students and staff to provide opportunities in our activities program,” Huegel said. “As I met people during this process, the passion Marshalltown has for its students and its activities made an impression on me.”