Thursday, May 30, 2019

Grandview’s Athletic Director retires after 32-year career

by Brent Kalwei

Steve Robertson’s commitment to the Grandview School District was put on display from the very first day he showed up for work in August of 1987. Robertson was so dedicated that just two days after getting married, he skipped the honeymoon for the beginning of his educational career.
“They were in need of a junior high science teacher and football coach,” Robertson said. “I had practice at 6 a.m., and that was my first job, so I wasn’t going to miss that. I’m still looking for that honeymoon.”
Robertson, who is currently the Grandview athletic director, has stayed true to the school district. He is just weeks away from retiring after spending the entirety of his 32-year educational career with Grandview.
“Loyalty is big for me. That’s why I appreciate George Brett, Cal Ripken and guys like that, because they are with one team their entire career,” Robertson said.
Robertson has worn many hats as a coach in the district. He was a high school assistant football coach for 13 years, eighth grade basketball coach for five years and spent one year each as the head boys’ and girls’ high school golf coach. Robertson, who played college baseball at Baker University, served as the Grandview Bulldogs head baseball coach from 1991-2007.
“Baseball is in my blood,” Robertson said. “That holds a special place. So many of the relationships that I have with coaches and players is what I cherish as much as anything.”
Robertson led the Bulldogs to their first and only baseball district championship in 2001. He enjoyed when Grandview participated in baseball tournaments in St. Louis, and played four times at Kauffman Stadium. Robertson coached Jay Bollinger, a 1997 graduate and First Team All-State baseball player. Bollinger liked Robertson’s approach to coaching.
“Every day he had a plan to help everybody get better,” Bollinger said.
Robertson is in his 17th year as the athletic director. Grandview has won 10 of its 11 all-time team state championships during Robertson’s tenure as athletic director.
“We’ve been blessed with so many unbelievable athletes and kids. It’s been a pleasure of mine to witness so many unbelievable feats. Those are things that I’ll never forget,” Robertson said.
Dana Bedwell, Grandview head girls’ track and field coach, believes Robertson has played a key role in the success of the athletic programs.
“He’s so professional. He requires us to stay on top of behavior and supervision,” Bedwell said. “He keeps his coaches to a high standard, and we rise to his standard.”
Robertson takes pride in making opposing teams and fans feel welcome during sports events at Grandview.
“One of my goals is to try to make every event a quality event, so when people come from other school districts, they leave with a good taste in their mouth about Grandview,” he said.
Bedwell said Robertson is well prepared and hardly ever misses a Grandview home sports event.
“He has lists for everything that needs to happen,” Bedwell said. “I’ve never been to any events that are as organized as the ones that he puts on.”
The Missouri Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association named Robertson as a District Athletic Director of the Year in 2016.
Also in 2016, Robertson created the Grandview Athletic Hall of Fame, which honors the greatest student-athletes in school history. Hall of fame inductees are selected annually. Robertson invites each hall of fame athlete back to the high school to be recognized during a two-day induction celebration. Each inductee receives a plaque to honor their achievement. Robertson said the event is a great way to build the relationship between alumni and current staff.
“One of the best things is when they come back and share their stories,” he said. “For them to come back and see our kids playing football and or basketball, and to see the school, they are just amazed at how nice it is, and how much they miss and appreciate Grandview. I heard about all of the previous student-athletes that have gone through here. To hear about them, and then finally meet them is a thrill.”
Robertson also created the hall of fame hallway located outside of the main high school gym. It features an array of items including championship trophies and plaques, banners, record boards and photos of former standout teams and athletes.
Grandview Superintendent Kenny Rodrequez said Robertson has had a significant impact in the Grandview School District community.
“I’d be shocked if people in 10 to 15 years aren’t still talking about the athletics program and mentioning Steve in the same sentence,” Rodrequez said. “He has become synonymous with the athletic successes in this district.”
Rodrequez is impressed with the relationships Robertson has built with the student-athletes in the school district.
“In every single sport, he knows all the different kids,” he said. “He knows their skills and ability levels. He has built relationships with them. He wants the absolute best for Grandview because our kids deserve it.”
Robertson said being a part of the Grandview School District has been special, adding that he will miss the relationships he has formed with athletes and coaches.
“I’ve always found it to be an interesting district with the diversity and the quality of kids,” he said. “I’ve always harped on trying to make sure that we represent our school district well. Anything I’ve done has been in an attempt to put Grandview in a good light and make people in the community proud of us. I’m sure I’ll follow the district closely for a long time just to see how things are going.”
Kirk Hipple, the athletic director and assistant principal at Summit Lakes Middle School in Lee’s Summit, will be taking over as the next Grandview athletic director.
“Hopefully, I’ve set a good foundation and people will just continue to do that,” Robertson said. “I’m proud to say that I’m leaving it in good hands.”

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