Page High School bids fond farewell to Kris Worley

PHS teacher and wrestling coach Kyran Keisling hugs Kris Worley during a surprise farewell for her during the Holbrook football game on Aug. 25.

If you go to the Sand Devils football field in autumn, you’ll find the football team. Go to the Sports Complex and you’ll find the soccer team. Go to the high school gym and you’ll find the volleyball team. And for the last 10 years, no matter the season, no matter the sport, when it was game time, you’d also find Kris Worley, Page High School’s assistant athletic director, whose presence was nearly as constant as the Sand Devil logo emblazoned at the center.

Worley retired last week, and PUSD’s athletic director, Megan Moore, saw to it that she received a proper goodbye before she left. During halftime of the football game against Holbrook, Page High School held a teacher recognition ceremony and had its teachers gather on the football field. While the teachers were gathering on the field, Moore sent Worley on a fake task in the football field house. When Worley completed the red-herring errand, she exited the field house to find Moore waiting for her with a golf cart, decorated for the occasion. Worley stepped into the cart, and Moore drove her to the center of the football field, where she was greeted with balloons and flowers. Sand Devils fans cheered from the bleachers, and students held up signs that read, “Thank you Kris,” “We love you Kris” and We’ll miss you Kris!”

“Kris has always been committed to the children and families of the Page community,” said Ernie Rivers, PUSD’s former athletic director, who worked closely with Worley for many years.   

“She always took the time to greet them by name, encourage them in their academics and their home life, and build them up to help them be successful. She is a very genuine and caring person. It comes across naturally, and the kids know it and that is what drew them to her. I feel it was a privilege to have her as an assistant and for all she did to help better our community. I consider it to be an honor to be her friend!”

Worley became PHS’s assistant athletic director in 2015, but she’s been coaching Page High School sports since the late 1990s in her capacity with the Page City Recreation Department. 

She worked as the assistant city recreation director from 1997 to 2008, and as its director from 2008 to 2013. During that period, Worley coached Page High School softball from 1998 to 2015, and soccer from 2000 to 2015. Worley has been involved with the annual elementary track meet since 1992.

Worley can be found at nearly every athletic event, helping coordinate and carry out the multitude of details necessary for an event to be successful, but the majority of what she does happens behind the scenes. This includes helping student athletes and their parents navigate eligibility forms and physicals. She helps book referees and umpires to officiate the games, and she helps the coaches arrange departure times, transportation and hotels if the teams need to stay overnight – all of which is subject to change, and very often does.

There have been occasions too numerous to count when Worley finished all the above details, all to have a game change to the new date. When that happens, Worley just chuckles, or sighs, and does it all over again.

Kyran Keisling, Page High School’s head wrestling coach, said his job would be nearly impossible without Worley’s help.

“Her attention to detail is impeccable and nearly perfect,” Keisling said.

“Kris makes sure my roster is correct, she makes sure that my wrestlers are eligible. Before we travel to a meet, she gives me a list with all the information I need to know: our departure time, our arrival time, our weigh-in time and the start time of the meet. The hardest part of being a coach is managing all those details, week after week, and Kris does it for me. Not only me, but all the other sports happening at the same time.

“What’s more – and this is why everyone loves her – she knows and cares about all those kids. Kris probably knows every kid in every sport going back to the day she started.”

Keisling said he relies on Worley’s experience as a former coach. The practices, the meets, the travel and the time spent away from family can make for a grueling season.

“One of the greatest assets Kris brought to the position was her many years of experience as a coach,” Keisling said. “She understands how hard it can be at times. She’s always been someone I could go to, sometimes just to gripe.”

Worley was eligible to retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year, but in typical Kris Worley style of going the extra mile and seeing the job through, she stayed on until the end of August to get her replacement up to speed and properly trained.

Of course she did. Kris Worley is a legend.

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