Stein is in his 17th year as a teacher but his third at HCHS.
He grew up in Cincinnati in a sports-oriented family and then went to college at Toledo University before returning to his native city to begin his teaching career.
Stein said his move to teaching in Kentucky came because of a previous decision to teach in a charter school in Cincinnati.
“The charter school came and I thought it sounded like a great idea,” Stein said. “I taught there for a short time but it closed and left me looking for a job.”
Stein found that job at Martha Layne Collins High School. He moved to Shelbyville but after two and half years there moved to teaching at Montgomery County High School.
Stein said his decision to leave there and teach at Henry County was based on his desire to be more a part of the school community.
“I was commuting to Montgomery County from Shelbyville so I had no time to be a part of the extracurricular activities there,” Stein said. “I am a big believer in the importance of extracurricular activities and wanted to be a part of that so I started looking to get back closer to home.”
And that is why over the last three years Stein has quickly become known as “Mr. Wildcat.”
Besides coaching the chess team for a second year, Stein has worked as an academic team coach and this year he will be an official at academic team competitions. He also plans to go to the marching band’s semi-state competition this weekend.
“My wife, Jillian, has also been in several of the Theater Downstream productions here at the school,” Stein said.
Whether it is a volleyball match, a soccer game or a golf match, Stein is an equal opportunity supporter of HCHS students, although he has to curtail the shouting at golf events.
“But that’s okay,” Stein said. “You can still be there and shake their hand after the round and tell them good job. It’s just about letting them know you support their efforts.”
While athletes and parents of all the teams appreciate him, Stein seems to have a particularly close bond with the boys’ soccer team. They bought him a cape he wears to some games and last year, the parents made cardboard letters to raise as he led the C-A-T-S cheer.
“I liked him there at the games because he kept the crowd in the game no matter what the score was,” HCHS senior soccer player Zack Woods said. “Whether it was close, we were way ahead or way behind, he kept the crowd loud and supporting us.”
Athletes don’t always tune in to what is happening on the sideline but it’s hard to ignore Mr. Wildcat when he is in full voice.
“I like that he is there at so many home and away games,” HCHS girls’ soccer player Janey Thompson said. “And I love his C-A-T-S cheer.”
Stein said that when he came to the NCKC cross country championship at the new park, he was concerned that the runners wouldn’t be able to hear him with the course being so spread out, but runners told him he could be heard all over the course.
Stein said his motivation for leading cheers and getting the crowd fired up came from hearing a lot of negative yelling and screaming at games that was not in the correct spirit of supporting a high school team.
“They tended to focus on something negative about the opponent,” he said. “When I went to games it seemed that the students needed to learn how to cheer positively for the team and give them positive energy. Being teenagers they did not want to lead and be the one noticed. I was willing to be the target. I try to be consistently loud, especially when a comeback is needed.
“My goal is to find cheers that the crowd can follow and go with. I would much prefer that it be student led. I take ideas from college teams, pro soccer and other places for my cheers.”
HCHS principal Shannon Sageser appreciates what Stein brings to the HCHS campus.
“His presence has been one that is dynamic and impactful,” Sageser said. “He has been a blessing as far as overall school pride. His love for the school is genuine.
“That Mr. Wildcat that we see on the sideline doesn’t stop when he goes into the classroom, hallways or even on parking lot duty. He always has his supporters scarf ready to wave.”
Please note: printed with permission from the Henry County Local