Two months after Wauconda High School's athletic director announced he was departing for a different job, the Bulldogs' sports department has a new boss.
Mark Ribbens, currently the athletic director at Larkin High School in Elgin, is taking over at Wauconda, effective July 1.
Ribbens will replace Andy Lambert, who was hired in March as Lake Zurich High School's athletic director after a hazing scandal there that resulted in several staff resignations and a lawsuit.
The Wauconda Unit District 118 school board approved Ribbens' hiring during a special meeting Thursday. He met his new staff and coaches Friday morning.
"I'm so super excited," said Ribbens, of Grayslake. "I really can't wait to get started."
The new job is something of a professional homecoming for Ribbens.
His career began in 2003 as a traveling physical education teacher in District 118. He worked at the high school, Wauconda Middle School and Crown Elementary.
"Having the opportunity to come back to Wauconda, where I started my educational career, is unbelievable," Ribbens said. "I'm just honored and thankful to have this chance."
Ribbens went on to teach physical education and driver education in Antioch-Lake Villa Area High School District 117. He then became dean of students at Old Orchard Junior High School in Skokie.
Ribbens has led Larkin's athletic staff since 2013.
Through the years, Ribbens also coached various sports at Stevenson High, Lakes High, Sycamore High and Wauconda.
The daily commute to Wauconda will be much shorter than the drive to Elgin. Ribbens said he's excited to have that additional time to focus on work, his wife and their two young daughters.
Ribbens will earn $126,000 during the 2017-18 school year as Wauconda's athletic director. Lambert earned $112,030 annually in the post.