Rancho Christian School announced the hiring of Jim Kunau as the Vice-President of Schools: Strategic Leadership and Planning as well as Head Football Coach. Kunau’s faith-centered career in education is hallmarked by his passion for the character and leadership development of young people. Kunau has a strong commitment to academic innovation and achievement and the pursuit of athletic and artistic excellence.
Kunau had spent twenty-one years at Orange Lutheran, nineteen as head football coach, bringing a small schools program from humble beginnings with nineteen players to one of California’s most successful Division II and Division I programs that has gained national recognition.
Kunau started coaching at Orange Lutheran as a varsity assistant basketball coach and JV basketball coach (1991-1996). He taught history for five years (1992-1997). He was also Athletic Director there for five years (1997-2002).
As Head Football Coach, Kunau compiled a 182-52-3 record. He coached the Lancers to thirteen league championships (eleven straight) in what is considered one of the toughest leagues in the state – the Trinity League — and two CIF Southern Section Championships (Division VI in 2004 and PAC-5 Division in 2006). His 2006 team went 14-1 and also won the first Division II State Bowl Championship. His 2005 team beat Mater Dei 27-21 even after Kunau had suspended eighteen players for misconduct.
Kunau was named Orange County Register’s “Coach of the Decade” (2000-2010); “Nike National Coach of the Year” and “Nike California Coach of the Year”; CIF Division VI Coach of the Year (2004) and “PAC-5 Coach of the Year” (2006); LA Times “Southern California Coach of the Year” (2004); and Orange County Register’s “Coach of the Year” (2004). Kunau also was named to coach two All-Star teams – CIF “Prep Star All-Star Game” and the ESPN/Under Armor “National All-Star game” in Orlando, Florida.
Kunau was awarded the Coaches of Influence Award for “Exemplary Christian Leadership” and the CIF’s “Champions of Character Award”. At the CIF Award ceremony, Kunau said he emphasizes faith first, character second, education third, and winning fourth. “Our mission is to build champions for life,” said Kunau, “When you have a strong foundation, that’s how you build tremendous team character and unity.”
Following his time at Orange Lutheran, Kunau was hired at Concordia University in Irvine as an assistant professor for the Masters in Coaching and Athletic Administration program. According to a Concordia media release, “Kunau will serve a large number of coaches in cultivating their coaching abilities and deepening their impact.” Kunau taught courses in Leadership and Ethics. Kunau taught for five years in Cal Lutheran’s MBA program in the 1990’s. He was also Director of the American Leadership Institute for five years (2003-2008). His book Building Champions for Life – co-authored with Dr. Kent Schlichtemeier – is slated for publication this summer.
Kunau spent last season at Canyon High School in Anaheim. The Comanches had not had a winning season since 2008. They were 3-7 in 2012 and 0-10 in 2011. The program experienced a pre-season challenge with the death of one of their players, Mitchell Cook, due to a pre-existing heart condition. In addition, a number of starters were out with injuries early; however, under Kunau, the Comanches overcame and finished 4-2 in the Century League, qualifying for playoffs; they lost to top-seeded La Habra.
Rancho Christian’s interim head coach, Jimmy Kemmis – who had won a CIF title coaching Linfield Christian in 2009 – will be serving on Kunau’s staff. The Eagles fielded a team of 31 and went 5-5 this past season.
“Jim’s vast experience in growing exceptional private schools made him the perfect hire as our Vice President of Strategic Leadership for all of Rancho Christian Schools,” said Rancho Community Church President and Senior Pastor Scott Treadway. “His football resume will also serve us well on our coaching staff. We are very excited about our latest addition to the Rancho Christian family.”