High School Sports

Local athletic director set to retire at end of June after 17 years on job

Longtime Keller ISD athletic director Bob DeJonge will retire in June after 17 years on the job.
Longtime Keller ISD athletic director Bob DeJonge will retire in June after 17 years on the job. Bryce Nieman

After 17 years as the athletic director for Keller ISD, Bob DeJonge is set to retire at the end of June.

DeJonge has been in public education for 38 years, the last 27 at Keller ISD. He said he’s ready to leave while on top and on his own terms.

Under DeJonge, Keller ISD varsity athletics serves about 10,000 student athletes, averaging 100 All-State performers each year, with more than 70 percent of all teams earning their way to the playoffs.

When DeJonge took over for Dennis Parker, KISD had just opened the second high school, Fossil Ridge. Keller Central and then Keller Timber Creek were since added in the rapidly-growing school district.

“I’m a little excited and little melancholy,” DeJonge said of his decision to retire.

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He said there was no event or trigger which prompted his decision.

“I’ve seen people toward the end of their career and witnessed them being miserable, not totally engaged. I don’t want to wait too long. I still enjoy getting up and doing what I do,” DeJonge said.

“After 30 years, you can begin to take a glimpse into the future,” he said.

DeJonge started his coaching career as the head track coach at Texarkana where he stayed for 11 years before coming to Keller High in 1991. He was the defensive coordinator for football and the assistant track coach for the Indians.

In addition to the coaching and athletic director roles, he’s also served as a teacher and Director of Secondary Curriculum for the Keller district.

A leader at the state level, DeJonge has been a member of the Texas High School Athletic Directors Association (THSADA) where he has been the Region III Director and Association president.

DeJonge was inducted into the THSADA Hall of Honor last year.

During his 17 years as AD, Keller ISD and DeJonge have seen six state team titles and several individual state champions.

Success, he said, is due to “great kids and great coaches who want to be here for long careers,” noting there were only two openings on his coaching staffs.

His experience as a teacher and curriculum director helped him understand the district operations which enhanced his ability to effectively transition into the athletic director role.

“The ability to communicate with adults and kids melds with the X’s and O’s. My whole career prepared me for this role,” he said.

“Dennis Parker was nice enough to give me a shot and I evolved into becoming competent to do the job,” DeJonge said. “I’ve had incredible bosses and coaches who’ve supported me on both sides. It’s been a neat career.”

DeJonge hasn’t ruled out jumping into new opportunities in a few months to help him occupy his time.

Before then, though, he and his wife Tricia have a keen interest in visiting national parks across the country and they plan to travel to see more of those destinations, along with his three grandchildren.

“I also have instructions at home,” DeJonge joked. “I know my garage needs some attention.”

A search for a successor is underway with a final selection expected by the end of the month.

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