By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer
Bruce VonderHaar, the Joplin R-8 School District assistant athletic director for the past 1 1/2 years, has resigned to accept a teaching position at Webb City High School.
VonderHaar spent 7 1/2 years in the classroom at JHS before moving into the administrative position to assist Jeff Starkweather.
Said VonderHaar on Tuesday: “It’s a family decision. I’ve looked at Webb City as a possible destination. Our kids attend Webb City schools. We live about a half mile from Webb City High School. My mother-in-law teaches at the Madge T. James Kindergarten Center.
“It’s hard to leave Joplin. ... a lot of great people, teachers and administration,” VonderHaar said. “It also was great experience serving as the assistant athletic director.
“It will be a big change,” VonderHaar said. “We’re ready for a new challenge. I’m excited about the opportunity. (Wife) Sarah is excited and happy.”
VonderHaar, who’ll teach multi media, will be the public address “voice” for varsity football games at Cardinal Stadium for retiring Jerry Walker.
Said Starkweather: “He did a great job for us. We’ll miss him, of course. He’s been very valuable. We hate to see him go. He did what was best for his family. We wish him the best.”
VonderHaar’s wife is the daughter of Robyn and former Sarcoxie athlete Jeff Kyle. The VonderHaars have two children — Drew, 7, who’ll be entering the second grade, and first-grader Brooke, 6.
VonderHaar, who worked in television for several years before turning to teaching, is a graduate of Pacific (Mo.) High School and has degrees from Missouri Southern and William Woods.
VonderHaar, 41, was a baseball pitcher at Mineral Area and Lincoln before transferring to Missouri Southern. He also has had coaching positions since turning to education.
Starkweather said the vacancy has been posted on joplinschools.org. He said there’s no specific timetable to naming a replacement.