With athletics being such an integral part of student life at Pinewood, having a strong athletic department is essential.
Kyle Riches is Pinewood’s new Assistant Athletic Director. His main job is to help Athletic Director Matt Stimpson organize the teams and their schedules, as well as assist with tasks such as hiring coaches. Recently he has been working on the social media aspect of the athletics department. He runs both the Facebook page and the new Instagram page, and has been taking pictures and videos for both. He has also introduced a weekly Student Athlete Spotlight, which is posted on both accounts.
Riches was a member of Pinewood’s class of 2011. As a senior, he was a member of both the basketball and track teams. He was also a member of student council, starting when he was at Middle Campus. In high school, he served as the freshman class president, ASB secretary, and ASB President. He also participated in the musical and was a member of Pinewood Singers. Michelle Isaac, the Director of Alumni Relations, compares his involvedness during his time as a student to that of a member of the 2017 graduating class, Alex Banning. “He always followed WISCR values and really just got involved in everything he could,” she said.
After graduating, he attended Brigham Young University for one year, before going on a mission to Chile for two years. According to him the most memorable part of his trip was getting to know the people there and embracing the culture. When he came back, Riches attended BYU for three more years, majoring in Latin American Studies and minoring in Communication. He also taught Spanish to college-aged students, and English as a second language to adults. “It was such a rewarding experience seeing the progress of both age groups as they learned the new language and were able to use it efficiently and correctly,” Riches said.
Riches is also a member of Panthers Helping Panthers, an alumni program. The past two years, it has connected sixth grade students at Pinewood with alumni mentors as penpals, and this year, seventh graders. Riches says that he loves the program, as it allows him to compare his experience at Pinewood with that of the student. He’s been a mentor since the program began. “He also has attended many alumni basketball games, and has just been a great supporter of the school,” Isaac said.
“I’ve always wanted to work here, since I was 12.” Riches said when asked what brought him back to Pinewood.“He’s a Pinewood Alum, and he’s awesome with kids. People love him, and he was our first choice,” Stimpson said.
According to Riches, the majority of the teachers who taught when he was a student still work at Pinewood. He loves being back and working with them, though he can’t bring himself to call them by their first names. He says, “It’s so fun being on the other side of things and really being more involved in the Pinewood community.” Overall, he says Pinewood really hasn’t changed much since he was a student.
Riches is excited to be here for the games, and is excited to promote all the sports teams as well as all spirit activities. “I just feel like the overall spirit of the campus is a little bit different,” he says. “The vibe isn’t what it used to be, and that’s something I’m hoping to bring back!”