Hilgers takes over SHS athletics

 

Last updated 8/8/2023 at 9:46am

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The Hilgers family is putting down roots in Sisters.

Matt Hilgers has taken over the role of athletic director for Sisters High School following Gary Thorson's tenure of five-and-a-half years.

Hilgers moved to Sisters in 2021 after a number of years working at Taft Middle School and High School in Lincoln City. He spent the past two years teaching social studies at Sisters Middle School and coaching the varsity baseball team. His wife, Brittney, teaches language arts at Sisters High School.

The couple has two children, ages 5 and 7.

Athletics play an important role to Hilgers. He was a three-sport athlete at Redmond High School, where he graduated in 2004. Hilgers credits sports for making his high school years more palatable.

"I didn't really like school so much and sports gave me a reason to go to school," he said.

Upon graduating Hilgers attended Chemeketa Community College in Salem, where he played baseball. He finished his undergraduate degree at Western Oregon University and had the good fortune to get into coaching at nearby Linn-Benton Community College during those years.

Having grown up in a one-team town in Redmond (Ridgeview did not open until 2012), Hilgers has kept an affinity for such places, including where he did his student teaching, along with his time at Taft.

"I love the sense of community in a one-high-school setting like Sisters," he said. "It's fun to be the only show in town."

Hilgers recognizes the challenges of the job as athletic director and is grateful that Thorson, who is back as the head football coach, is available to answer questions.

"Gary has been great," he said. "Every day I have five or six questions I have jotted down to check in with him about.

"It's a big job with a lot of details," he continued. "From getting to know our sponsors who help with our funding to figuring out officiating and dealing with schedules, there's plenty to keep up with already."

Having coached for the past two years, Hilgers has witnessed a positive uptick in participation, support, and enthusiasm.

"I really noticed last year how much better everything seemed compared to the first year of coming out of the pandemic," he said. "We had our biggest baseball crowds ever last year, including our state playoff game. Having the support of the community and the student body was really great."

Hilgers says he has no big changes in mind for his first year in the job.

"I am just focused on learning all the systems that I will be using and forming relationships with our parents and kids, our supporters, all of our coaches, and other ADs.

Athletic director is just part of Hilgers' new job. As an assistant principal he will have other duties, including supervision, overseeing 504 plans for students with particular needs, and other administrative tasks.

He says knowing virtually all of the incoming freshmen and sophomores from having them in class when they were in middle school is a plus.

"I really think it's important for me as the athletic director and assistant principal to know the kids by name," he said.

Gary Thorson believes Hilgers will do well in his new role.

"I am super excited to see him in that position," he said. "I have watched him as a coach and seen his passion and skill. He knows what it takes to run quality programs and I know our coaches will appreciate his leadership."

With fall sports practices at Sisters High School officially beginning August 14, Hilgers is excited and encourages all students to consider getting involved. Registration has changed from FamilyID to a new system, which Hilgers says can be accessed on the Sisters High School website http://ssd6.org/athletics/.

Fall sports include girls and boys cross-country, volleyball, cheer, football, and girls and boys soccer.

 

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