The Fairfield Area School District officially has a new athletic director.

After being hired in May, Andrew Kuhn took over as the head of Green Knights’ athletic programs, replacing outgoing athletic director Crystal Heller, who will remain with the district as the head of the food services department.

Kuhn, who most recently served as an assistant athletic director for the York City School District, is a 2009 graduate of South Western where he played both basketball and golf. After graduating, he attended classes at HACC Gettysburg while serving as the head junior high basketball coach at Biglerville before enrolling at Stevenson University in Maryland where he graduated with a degree in business administration and a minor in sports management.

“I knew right from high school that I wanted to be an athletic director,” Kuhn said when asked why he pursued the position. “As a student at South Western I would always see former South Western athletic director and hall of fame football coach Don Seidenstricker peeking into our practices and making sure things were running smoothly. I knew from a young age the drive and passion it takes to be a successful athletic director.”

In addition to coaching and working as an assistant athletic director, Kuhn has worked with at-risk youth at the York County Youth Development Center. He says that while he hopes to continue the success that Fairfield has had under Heller, his first priority is that his athletes succeed in the classroom.

“My philosophy is that you are a STUDENT-athlete,” Kyhn said. “You are a student first and foremost and you must be successful in the classroom to be able to have the opportunity to be successful on the field. Academics and getting kids into college are my number one goal.”

Heller, who helped with the search to find her replacement, says that she believes Kuhn is well-suited to handle the role.

“I got a chance to be a part of that process and had some input on who I felt might be a good fit,” she said. “I’m very comfortable with Andy and he’s in a unique spot because I’m not leaving, so he can reach out to me about how we’ve done things in the past. We’ve communicated a good bit already and I think he’ll be a good fit for the community and for the kids going forward.”

Heller, meanwhile, said she had her eyes on the food services role since learning the position would be coming open.

“I found out last year in July that our food services director was planning to retire in December and it was something that I immediately had interest in,” she said. “I had 18 years of restaurant experience, 15 of which came at Hoss’s in Gettysburg and eight of those were as an assistant manager and it felt like the right time. I knew getting back into that was something that I’d wanted to do and when the position came open it just felt like a great fit.”

Kuhn says he’s still getting to learn about the district and its athletes, but that he’s enjoyed the family environment that he’s encountered thus far.

“This is a way different demographic than I am used to,” he said. “It’s a very small district, but I love the family environment that the district has. It’s nice to be able to know each athlete that participates in the different sports and I’m able to interact and know each and every kid. I can tell that the students are passionate about their sports and being successful in the classroom and on the field and that really excites me.”

He also credits Heller as well as the rest of the Fairfield administration for making the transition a seamless one.

“From top to bottom, from the administration, to the teachers and faculty, to finally the most important the students, everyone has been so nice and helpful to me,” he said. “Crystal Heller has taught me a lot about how to be successful in the district here at Fairfield and she is definitely a great person to lean on for advice and I’m so grateful for her.”

Kuhn added that he’s excited to build upon the groundwork and success that Heller and Co. have laid and that he hopes to put his own touch on the district while doing so.

“My goal is to bring a different voice and different energy to the district.,” he said. “I’m someone that is motivated and someone that won’t settle for anything but the best. The students are my top priority and seeing them be successful in the classroom and on the field is what brings me joy. I want our kids to give it their all every time they step foot on campus. Give it your max effort. Championships will come, but seeing these kids get to college and be successful in the community is what it’s all about to me. They know they are going to get my best each and every day.”

Clay Sauertieg can be reached at csauertieg@gettysburgtimes.com

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