BLOOMINGTON – It was a long road, but Kayode Adegoke is finally on staff at the Illinois High School Administration.
The former Bolingbrook High School track star started an internship at the IHSA in January and during that time had conversations with IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman about coming on as a full-time staff member, but didn't officially start full time until July 1.
"It was kind of a long transition," said Adegoke, coordinator of special programs at the IHSA. "It was something Dr. Hickman and I talked about since March or April, but I had to go through the approval process with the Board of Directors and it wasn't until May that they officially made an offer because it was contingent on me receiving my bachelor's degree."
Adegoke graduated from Illinois State University on May 11 with a degree in recreation management, and while some recent college graduates struggle to land their first job, he went right into the workforce.
As an intern at the IHSA, Adegoke said he was responsible "for a little bit of everything," which ranged from working at state finals competitions for cheerleading, competitive dance, wrestling and boys and girls basketball, to helping the administrators for those sports handle the referees, ticketing, attendance and apparel sales. He said he's doing some of the same things now as a full-time employee.
"Right now I'm in charge of the DVDs and VHS tapes in our archive, so if somebody calls up and says, 'I played in the 1975 state championship basketball game. How can I get a copy?' I'd be responsible for that," Adegoke said. "I'm also in charge of merchandise and apparel, and I'll probably have increased duties once our March Madness rolls around."
Spending months as an intern at the IHSA made the transition into his full-time job much easier. For their part, Hickman and his fellow administrators are happy to have Adegoke on board.
“He has an uncanny ability to interact with individuals,” Hickman said on the IHSA website. “He adapts well to just about any group or role, and excelled with all the responsibilities we assigned him (as an intern)."
A track and football standout at Bolingbrook, Adegoke qualified for the state track and field meet in 10 events during a three-year span and earned seven all-state finishes in the open sprints and sprint relays as a junior and senior. He continued to run at ISU, where he represented the Redbirds in the finals of the Missouri Valley Conference indoor and outdoor championships 11 times in four events from 2009-11.
Graduating all but put an end to his competitive track career, but he is more than ready to tackle the challenges of his new job.
"I'm definitely going to miss it," Adegoke said of competing. "I still work out here and there, but it's nothing like being around teammates and that family feel you get at competitions, I'm going to miss that, but this is part of growing up and I'm excited to start the next chapter of my life."