By RANDY GONZALES
Jill Schaben is just the second administrative assistant for the Hays High School athletic director. Previously, Margaret Bettis had the job, from 1979 until fall 2005, when Schaben was hired.
"Nobody can replace Margaret," Schaben said with a laugh. "I followed Margaret."
Schaben is a sports fan, following the University of Kansas Jayhawks and her alma mater, Fort Hays State University. And Hays High, of course.
"I am a sports fan, probably moreso now," she said. "I always enjoy watching sports more when I know the people playing.
"I like that, getting to know the kids, the local kids."
Schaben's normal day is from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but that can stretch into late in the evening, when Hays High plays host to a sporting event. Depending on the number of workers she can find, Schaben might be a ticket-taker at the start of games and a money-counter while closing, maybe at 9 or 10 at night.
"People are so stretched anymore, taking on extra duties," Schaben said. "Just getting more difficult to find people to work events."
Schaben works closely with HHS Athletic Director Clint Albers, who took over for Mike Karl in January 2004.
"We have good communication, I think, as far as letting each other know what's going on," Schaben said. "We're both detail-oriented, so that helps a lot.
"Usually when I mess up, he catches it; when he messes up, I catch it," she said. "We have a pretty good system going."
Schaben had worked as an administrative assistant for a local attorney, then took five years off after the birth of her second daughter. During her time off, she quilted; one of her creations adorns an office wall.
When her youngest daughter entered kindergarten, Schaben was ready to re-enter the workforce. She saw an ad for the HHS job and was hired.
"It was an appeal to me, for the job, for the variety," Schaben said. "I had been an administrative assistant; it was pretty much the same thing.
"Overall, this is the same thing, but it changes by sport, changes by season," she added. "There's just a variety, from scheduling, to the sports physicals. I have contact with the kids, I have contact with the public, contact with the teachers. I like that."
Schaben's job at HHS is 10 months out of the year; she has two months off in the summer -- her favorite time of the year.
"I love to go to the lake," Schaben said. "My kids say I live for the summers, which, honestly, part of this job is having summers off."