LINDSBORG — Football has been a huge part of Chris Hattabaugh’s life.
For nearly 30 years, he has been involved in the sport either as a player or coach.
Beginning next fall, however, he’ll be shifting his priorities when he becomes the principal and athletic director at Elkhart High School in Western Kansas.
Hattabaugh had a 27-28 record in his six years as Viking head coach after having been on staff as an assistant. His best season was 2013 when the Vikings were 7-2 and Central Kansas League champions, but were involved in a district that included McPherson and Abilene, missing the playoffs.
Hattabaugh led the Vikings to his only playoff appearance this past year, as they went 5-5 despite a litany of injuries both before and during the season. They lost to eventual champion Andale 47-14 in the first round.
Hattabaugh said it will seem strange for football not to be one of his main focuses.
“Absolutely,” he said. “This will be the first time in 28 years (since the fourth grade) that I haven't been a part of a football team. I have always had a goal to become an administrator before the age of 40. This summer I turn 38, so that puts me right on track. I am excited to get to watch my kids compete in fall sports (daughter Hannah in volleyball and son Tanner in seventh-grade football), which had been very difficult with me coaching football.”
Hattabaugh apprenticed under the legendary Bethany Hall of Fame coach Ted Kessinger, during which time the Swedes were a national power.