Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

The Man, The Myth, The Kirkby


Mr. Kirkby’s smile is contagious throughout the school. Whenever you see the Pascack Hills icon you begin to smile because you know that no matter what, he is in a great mood. Whether he is teaching math in the morning or coaching in the afternoon, he gives off an electric energy that only boosts your confidence. In an interview with the confident Kirkby at his desk, I explored in depth what Kirkby was like outside the classroom and how he got to where he is today.

Kirkby, age 36, is a funny and charismatic teacher and coach. However, he wasn’t always like that. He may instill fear in students that roam the halls here at PHHS with his body frame, but he claims to have been “pretty dorky looking” in high school. Kirkby laughed when he reminisced on his high school figure and claims to have been significantly smaller than he is today.

Jokingly, Kirkby said, “I kind of look like I ate the kid I was in high school.”

Kirkby was eager to mention that sports have always been a big part of his life. His role models were not necessarily famous sports figures but rather his father, who was a division three-college football and baseball player, and his older brother who played baseball in college as well. At rival school Pascack Valley, he was a three-sport athlete, playing soccer, baseball, and basketball for the Indians. He was lucky enough to be successful in his high school athletic career winning county championships in his sophomore year for soccer and junior year for baseball.

With all of his involvement in sports, one could be surprised that Kirkby took all AP and Honors courses throughout high school and was a member of Valley’s student government. Whether it was playing sports with friends or “playing intense rounds of trivial pursuit,” he was always having a good time.

To sum it all up he said, “I was always one of those kids who really liked high school.”

After having so much success with sports at the high school level, Kirkby decided to attend Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on an athletic and academic scholarship. He knew that sports had been so influential in his life that he wasn’t ready to let them go just yet.

“I knew right away I had a chance to go in there and play as a freshman. I was lucky enough to start at the third base.” Kirkby explained why Saint Joseph’s was the clear choice, adding the fact that is was close to home so his parents would be able to watch him play.

However school, of course, was not all baseball all the time. Kikrby knew he wanted to  be connected with sports and originally majored in sports medicine. The time commitment, however, would have taken away from baseball. So, math was the obvious second choice coupled with a minor in education. The perfect way to balance his love for math, and his obsession for sports was to become a coach and teacher at a high school.

From a coach’s side, Kirkby enjoys Varsity Basketball because he is able to “devise schemes” and varsity baseball because “it is more pregame strategy.”

Laughing Kirkby added, “I enjoy coaching girl’s volleyball because it’s fun.”

“I’d be open to coach pretty much anything; soccer bowling golf because those are all sports I played growing up” he noted.

Basketball and baseball were the two sports he knew he wanted to coach. He “pigeonholed” them because of his love for the games and the success he has had previously. At times, he does coach vicariously through his players and he also has seen kids that remind him of teammates, which “always bring back memories.” From a coaching aspect, he added that he would rather have kids who work hard but don’t necessarily have talent than kids that have talent but don’t work hard.

During this interview, Kirkby’s loyalty to Pascack Hills showed. Mr. Kirkby noted that there has been a difference in both high schools since he graduated from Valley and came here to teach. He told me that Hills is more academic driven and better behaved while Valley is very free and kids have more say in what they do.

When I asked which one he liked better he said very bluntly, “look where I am now, that’ll tell you.” He made aware that this is the fourth high school he has taught at and it plans on being his last.

“As cliché as it sounds, once a Cowboy always a Cowboy.”

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