BJ Koch wears heart on his sleeve for East High School
The East High School student body has appreciated the body of work that assistant principal and activities director BJ Koch has done over the years.
That hard work was recognized last fall, as Koch received the 2019 Iowa Association of Student Councils High School Administrator of the Year.
The award was given by the Iowa Association of Student Councils.
Koch has been at East since 2007, and before that, he was a baseball coach. Koch appreciated the award and said it was an honor to be recognized by the students he oversees on a daily basis.
“I think it’s a lot of my job is kind of behind the scenes, so that was a really nice part of the honor that they appreciate some of the things I’m doing, I guess,” Koch said. “And, I try to stay behind the scenes and kind of let them do their thing and definitely the coaches and directors are more out in the forefront, but it was definitely nice to be recognized for some of those things that we’ve done.”
In the early 2000s, Koch was the head baseball coach at West High School.
Then, he was a youth baseball coach and was an assistant baseball coach at Spencer and at Morningside.
Koch believes his coaching background is a big key for his success with the Black Raiders.
“I experienced all of the challenges that my coaches are going through,” Koch said. “You know all the different things with trying to fundraise and finances and working through the budget issues, scheduling issues, officials issues and then allow, you know, parent issues and things like that, that playing time is always a concern that comes up.
“And so we worked through a lot of those things when I was coaching, and I think that really helped me when I got the position at East, and the AD position, that I’d had those experiences,” Koch said.
East boys basketball coach Ras Vanderloo sees the hard work that Koch instills not only into the boys basketball program, but all of them.
Ras Vanderloo ranked Koch “high on my list” among the ADs he’s worked with over the years.
“He’s great to work with and he understands it,” Vanderloo said. “Sometimes when you get a former AD that’s not a former coach, it’s not good. He understands the good and bad that goes on in the preseason, postseason and regular season and what needs to happen. I’m happy he’s here, and I hope he stays around forever.”
Vanderloo says the times with Koch have been 99 percent good, but when an unfortunate situation arises, Vanderloo always respects Koch’s decisions.
“At the end of the day, with anything else, nobody ever gets everything they want, but BJ is always fair,” Vanderloo said. “He’s very fair in all situations. I wouldn’t trade him for anybody, and most coaches don’t say that about their ADs, but I do. I can’t say that about every AD I’ve worked with.”