By Brock Stafford * Beacon sports editor
Jean-Paul Kierkegaard has been hired as head football coach at Bass Lake University, effective right away.
Contract terms have not been disclosed quite yet.
Kierkegaard, senior professor of philosophy at BLU, was named interim coach in January following the abrupt (but highly unsurprising) resignation of Flip Alabama. Now, Kierkegaard takes over the reins of the school’s third-highest-profile sport, behind women’s small-lake sculling and men’s fishing.
Kierkegaard, 59, was a surprise hire to most local analysts. He had played a limited role in the Beaver football program. He joined the team in October 2013 as assistant uniform-maintenance coach, mainly as a research project.
Front-runner for the position was rumored to be Clark Kant, current head coach at Eastern West Virginia and former assistant at Northern South Carolina. That did not materialize.
Bass Lake University director of athletics Helen Sanderstroms explained the decision — repeatedly — during a press conference Friday.
“We wanted to move quickly,” Sanderstroms said. “Spring football was upon us and, although we don’t have spring football at The U, we don’t want to fall any further behind our conference foes than was already necessary.”
“(Kant) was a solid candidate and we liked his credentials, but we decided (Kant) wasn’t the right fit for our university,” Sanderstroms said. “Plus, (Kant) wanted too much money.”
Kierkegaard was unable to attend the press conference, but released an 11-word statement later in the day. “This marks the beginning of a new football philosophy at BLU,” he emailed.
Despite almost zero coaching experience, Kierkegaard has a semi-extensive background in the sport. He played football, briefly, as a back-up quarterback at Central California High School in Central California, Calif., but was sidelined after injuring the left pinkie on his non-throwing hand. Depressed by the season-ending occurrence, he turned to reading, and it eventually kindled his interest in academia. His interest in the game never waned, although he has remained indirectly involved mainly in a historic, analytical manner.
Now, his life-trajectory has come semi-full-circle.
“It’s astonishing, really,” a Beacon sports correspondent said.
The Regents fully supported the decision to hire Kierkegaard, they said. The Regents, Jeff and Linda, reside on Sixth Street.
Longtime Beaver fan Joe Joseph (BLU ’79) remains somewhat skeptical.
“Gawd, this is never, ever gonna work,” Joseph said.
Bass Lake opens the 2014 season Sept. 6 at Stripmall State.