Richard Tarka joins the Hinsdale Central math department and takes on the role of varsity head coach of the football team. He has more than 20 years of teaching and coaching experience behind him, including a job as the assistant football coach at Central last year. He previously taught at Crete-Monee and Rich South in the southern suburbs of Illinois.
Tarka underwent a press-conference style interview when he applied for the head coach position. Thirty-five parents asked him questions about his plans. “Thirty-five parents in a room is definitely a different interview experience than I’ve ever had,” said Tarka. He said the most interesting question was about his intentions for a state championship. Tarka said, “Obviously, I can’t make promises on that, but that’s going to be a goal of ours every year. As with every team I coach, I will not take that out of the goal.”
He said he is looking forward to the challenge of working with more motivated students than he has been used to in the past. “I’ve taught a lot of great kids in the past, but I think as a whole, Hinsdale Central has a great student body and kids who want to achieve, and I think that’s going to push me and make me better, and it’s going to be more fun for me.”
He has a variety of academic and athletic experiences behind him. He said, “I think I’ve had great opportunities. I’ve worked in all different kinds of communities and environments.” He believes this shows his ability to adapt to new experiences.
Tarka feels optimistic about the new prospects that Central will offer him. “I think more than anything it gives me appreciation for the great resources for students and the support that teachers are provided here because that’s not always the case.”
He foresees the challenging dual role of football coach and teacher, a role with which he has become familiar. “I think the biggest thing is to plan and prioritize,” said Tarka. He understands the changes facing him from his prior experiences and said, “But again, this is a new school and new expectations.”