Phillips Academy Veteran Mike Kuta Named Athletic Director
March 26, 2007
— Long-time physical education teacher, athletic trainer, and strength and conditioning coach Mike Kuta has been named Athletic Director and chair of the Department of Physical Education at Phillips Academy. His six-year term officially began on Monday, March 26. He succeeds Martha Fenton, who last fall announced her intention to step down.
Kuta is a man with a mission, who believes strongly in the importance of regular exercise to help students meet rigorous academic demands and associated stresses. “It is no secret,” he says, “that sports and exercise help students structure and manage their time, promote efficient study skills, and relieve stress while contributing to a regular sleep pattern. It is this restoration—both mental and physical, that I feel is underrated. There is a daily return on a daily investment.” His goal is to maintain a minimum athletic requirement of all students—45 minutes per day, four times a week. “In keeping with the school’s strategic plan to provide more schedule flexibility and down time,” he says, “I want to stress the importance of physical activity. It’s not expendable.”
The new athletic director points to Newsweek magazine’s current cover story, “Exercise and the Brain” with enthusiasm for its insight into “ideas we’ve known for years—that kids do better academically when they’re in athletic seasons. Now we’re able to quantify these phenomena and explain them.” He said he believes “the Greeks got it right centuries ago when the scholar–athlete was the ideal, and that leadership relied on the co-dependence of mind and body working together in top condition.”
Kuta is intent on integrating his exercise philosophy into all three tiers of the athletic program—the interscholastic, where team sports teach young people how to handle adversity and hardships, how to achieve common goals, and build life-long bonds between students; the intramural program, which breeds high-spirited competition and strong relationships among “school neighborhoods;” and instructional activity, the life-long lessons of exercise and sports training.
Kuta’s career at Andover spans 25 years, beginning in 1983 as a teaching fellow and intern while serving as junior varsity football and varsity track coach. At various times he has served as the school’s fitness and conditioning coordinator, challenge course manager, afternoon activities program director for Summer Session, and for the past 11 years, coordinator of the summer Andover Soccer Camp. Most recently he has been involved with curriculum development for Andover’s physical education courses, has co-authored numerous manuals for procedures and safety guidelines, and has participated in resident staff training programs.
Kuta graduated from Northeastern University with a BS degree in physical education and athletic training, As a high school student in Cheshire, Mass., he lettered in football and track. A resident of Andover, Kuta is married and the father of three children.