Stuff doesn’t get done without someone stepping up and doing it.

For a good 20-some years at Kootenai junior/senior high, that someone was Doug Napierala.

Anyone who has been involved with athletics and/or teaching at a small school knows the struggle of finding people to step into open positions, especially ones that require a two or three-month commitment, like a basketball coaching job, for example.

At Kootenai, like any school, positions open up more frequently than snow in January.

And any time that would happen, the response from Kootenai’s athletic director – also Doug – was the same: “Well, I’m going to do it.”

From track and field to girls basketball, with a steady diet of football in between, Doug was the “everything-guy” at Kootenai leading up to his recent retirement as athletic director.

He was there in 2008 when the Warrior football team took an 11-0 record into the state title game at the Kibbie Dome.

He’s been there as numerous standout athletes, including a slew of track and field state-champion pole vaulters, made their way through the program.

He took over as head coach of the girls basketball team – for the second time – in 2016, after having coached the girls from 1998 to 2007.

And he was still there, working behind the scenes, two seasons ago when a lack of numbers caused Kootenai to cancel its football season.

But when the Warriors returned in 2020, despite playing a condensed schedule, Napierala was ready to take the helm once again – perhaps after most of us were ready to write off the chance of his team being able to field eight players.

He was honored earlier this month at halftime of the Warriors’ homecoming football game for his years of service, which are not quite finished, as he has been taking stats for the football team; not to mention the P.E. and health classes he still teaches at the school, along with substituting as a bus driver.

So while he may not be scheduling Kootenai’s athletic events anymore, you could say Doug Napierala is still plenty busy.

You could also say – rightfully so – that his recognition is well-deserved.

Collin Scheel is the sports reporter at the Gazette Record.

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