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Longtime Dock Mennonite athletic director Ehst announces retirement

Christopher Dock head coach Tim Ehst gives instructions to the team during a timeout of their contest against Bristol at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School on Friday January 17,2014. (Mark C Psoras/MediaNews Group File)

The guiding hand of Dock sports for multiple decades, Tim Ehst announced his retirement earlier this week.

“Looking back, it’s somewhat hard to believe that my time at Dock has been over 40 years,” the longtime athletic director, coach and teacher said. “I’ve had the privilege to work with many wonderful administrators, teachers, coaches, student-athletes, and parents, who were at the heart of making my responsibilities enjoyable and sport teams successful.”

Dock has had a proud history of success in team sports and individual achievements and growth, and Ehst was integral in all aspects.

“As I move into retirement, there will be many parts of my athletic director and teacher roles I’ll miss, but look forward to focusing on a good number of other activities and experiences I didn’t have as much time to enjoy while doing my work at Dock,” he said.

During Ehst’s tenure as athletic director, Dock’s sport offerings grew from seven to 19 programs.

And during a trying year with the pandemic, when scheduling was at times a nightmare, Ehst kept things on track at Dock. In the midst of a hectic winter season, Ehst helped the teams schedule and get in critical makeup games. Boys basketball coach Mike Fergus called Ehst “the best athletic director around.”

“I enjoyed shaping our athletic philosophy and creating a coach’s manual that provided a framework for coaches to work more independently within our system and understanding of doing sports at Dock,” Ehst said. “We have been fortunate to have hired coaches that are wonderful teacher and coaches that do well in motivating student athletes and forming a positive team culture.

“Our coaches have been the primary factor in creating positive sport environments and preparing our teams to win many league, district and state championships since 1986 to the present year. As someone who has coached most of his years at the high school level, I get great satisfaction supporting and giving – I hope helpful – feedback to our coaches as they lead their sport program.”

After coaching the girls basketball team to multiple postseason runs, Ehst moved on to mentoring a few student athletes each year, “giving them support and challenging them to work toward their God-given sport potential,” he said.

“Getting to know students and forming positive relationships is a big part of what has brought me energy in both my teaching and coaching roles,” Ehst shared.

Ehst has been in high school education for a total of 45 years, including one year at Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg, Va., where he coached girls basketball, and one year at Iowa Mennonite High School in Kelona, Iowa, where he coached boys soccer, girls basketball, and boys and girls track and field.

At Dock, he coached boys basketball for 18 years and girls basketball for 16 years.

And, in addition to that…

“It was great coaching cross country with my wife for six years in the ’80’s,” he says, “and coaching track and field for two years when our oldest daughter ran track in the late ’90’s.

“I have found all of these coaching experiences to be helpful in better understanding what is most helpful in creating boys and girls sport environments where we are looking to develop sport skill, form character and compete at the championship level when possible.”

During Ehst’s tenure as AD at Dock, the honor roll of athletes is a long one.

Jill Bolton (Liberty University, field hockey) and Austin Kratz (Arizona State University, track and field) are currently competing at the Division 1 level.

Greg Folgia and Ryan Seiz each played minor league baseball. Jesse Guy was a 2008 Olympian in field hockey.

Erik Kratz caught in the majors, including a stint with the Phillies.

Ehst moves on to new challenges, leaving behind quite a legacy. Seth Frankenfield takes over the AD duties at Dock.

“In retirement, I look forward to working with our small herd of grass-fed beef cattle, where I have transferred my coaching and teaching skills to working with cattle, where they live outdoors all year around,” Ehst says. “My wife and I look forward to spending more time with our children and grandchildren, and travel throughout the US with our small camper, and spending more time cycling.”

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