Rick Streiff is back at Cathedral High School. Not that he ever really left.
And that he became the Cathedral athletic director didn't surprise Streiff, necessarily. When he retired early this year as the most successful football coach in school history, he imagined he might someday hold the position.
But he never imagined it would happen so soon.
"In the big picture, this was something I thought, 'Well, maybe down the road, I'll jump into this,''' Streiff said recently. "I just didn't think it would be 30 days officially on the job: 'Here I go.'''
That's indeed what happened in the summer of 2018, with Streiff – who resigned as the Irish's football coach shortly after the 2017 season – assuming the athletic director position when Doug Seagraves resigned after five years in the position.
Streiff, who had replaced Terry Fox as Cathedral assistant athletic director in early July, officially took over as athletic director August 1. He had remained on staff teaching classes after resigning as football coach, and he spent much of the spring working with the school's new website and computer system.
"My wife and I laughed when it transpired," Streiff said. "She said, 'Well, at least you got a summer under the radar.' The hope was to have a couple of years behind the scenes, but the timing of it is what it is. We hoped for a little more time, but here we are and we go."
Streiff called the Cathedral athletic position "a huge job."
"The emphasis and the importance of athletics to our school is huge, so consequently you want to make sure our coaches and our kids have what they need to continue to enjoy the level of success the program has produced over the years," Streiff said. "That, quite frankly, is a monumental task."
Whereas he had hoped to work as assistant for a year or two, Streiff said by the quick ascension to the head job will mean an early learning period.
"I've been involved in about 400 high school football games, but I've never administered one, so what does that actually entail?" Streiff said. "The learning curve on that side will be a little steep, but going forward a year from now I'll feel a lot better. I'm excited to be in this spot. There are still some learning things I've got to get done. We'll get there.
"It's new and it's big picture. I've always tried to be a big picture guy, even with the football part of it. But I'm looking forward to it. There's a wide range of new things I get to do and new people to be involved with, so that part's exciting."
Streiff won 10 state football titles at Cathedral – four during his initial stint on the job from 1989-2001 and six more (2008/Class 4A, 2010-2012/4A, 2013-2014/5A) in an 10-year second stint that ended with his resignation.
As athletic director, he inherited an overall sports program that has won state titles in 11 sports over the last decade and a half: football, girls and boys volleyball, boys and girls soccer, wrestling, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls lacrosse and rugby.
The boys basketball program also has played in a state title game during that span, and the boys and girls golf teams also have won played in state tournaments with the boys and girls cross-country teams having run as a team in the state finals.
That's big-time success, and Streiff said his hope is to support the people who have made that success possible.
"I'm sure there are some things we'll look at accomplishing (in the future)," Streiff said. "The folks we have working with are kids are great folks, so that part I want to make sure we continue to have great people working with our kids and to make their jobs as easy as possible so they can go coach and that they don't have to worry about other things. I hope to take that off their plate. That's kind of the short-term goal.
"I haven't really had time to think long-term, but a year from now I should have a better feel for things we can put a stamp on and make it work."
And Streiff said doing that at a place he has spent 23 years – a place he has loved – makes the opportunity logical and meaningful.
"I've been invested in this place for so long that you are kind of ingrained into it," Streiff said. "Even though I'm not a graduate, I feel very much a part of the big picture. My kids have graduated from here, so I'm very vested in it. You do get attached and it gives you a tie to the place that makes it hard to walk away."
"I'm excited about the opportunity to help these coaches do what they do and help our kids become the best version of themselves."