Kahl is Rams’ link to the outside world


Kerry Kahl and his wife, Melissa, are at a wedding reception for Cornell College Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach Meredith Merce Meier when his cell phone begins to vibrate.

Sports Information Director Kerry Kahl is the first to arrive and last to leave almost every home event.
Sports Information Director Kerry Kahl is the first to arrive and last to leave almost every home event.

For Kahl, it is a call to action.

Kahl gets up and quietly sneaks out to his car in the parking lot to boot up his laptop. The Cornell men’s and women’s basketball teams have just completed a sweep of Beloit College in Wisconsin, and Kahl has work to do. He gets the box scores from Beloit’s sports information director and begins typing up a story on each game for the Rams’ website. He attaches photos and mug shots and uploads the stories so alumni, parents, and fans worldwide can get the information immediately.

It’s all in a day’s work for Kahl, who has been the sports information director (SID) at Cornell College the past 15 years.

As a one-man operation, he relays all the Rams athletics news to the fans and manages a staff of six to 10 student-athletes who help him cover events.

“I have a passion for college athletics. I am the person who links our student-athletes to the outside world. I keep everyone connected,” Kahl said. “We have so many students who are from out of state and out of the country. I am responsible for making sure their families and friends can get online right away and see what their student-athletes are doing. I take my job very seriously.”

While he is often seen but seldom heard at athletic events, he is the man who holds things together and helps the events go on without a hitch.

“Kerry is always as professional as they come,” Cornell Director of Athletics and Head Baseball Coach Seth Wing said. “Cornell College is lucky to have a real journalist in that position. Kerry not only understands college athletics but he knows the work ethic that comes with it. His father was a farmer, and I think that is where that hard work ethic comes from. He’s the first one here and the last one to leave almost every home event.”

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Brent Brase ’90 said Kahl takes real pride in his work.

“He loves covering the team and covering the athletes and giving them the exposure they really deserve,” Brase said. “He does an awesome job. He’s a great human being and he’s fun to work with. He has been great for Cornell. I can’t imagine where we would be without Kerry.”

Kahl learned the ropes as an undergraduate at Central College under legendary SID Larry Happel. After graduating from Central, Kahl spent one year as sports editor at the Mount Pleasant News, then five years as a sportswriter at The Hawk Eye Newspaper in Burlington.

Kahl decided to switch careers when he and Melissa made plans to get married and start a family. The couple has two children—daughter Kamryn is in eighth grade and son Klayton is in fifth grade. 

Kahl was the SID at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant from 2005 to 2007 before accepting his position at Cornell.

Part of Kahl’s job is building working relationships with the Cornell coaching staff, student-athletes, and SIDs from other schools. He hires Cornell student-athletes to help him in their off-seasons with statistics and game management at home athletic events. He simply couldn’t survive without them.

“In this job I am constantly learning new technology,” said Kahl, who often puts in 15 hours on game days and spends his summers catching up on work he can’t do in season. “I learn the new systems and then I teach the student-athletes. It’s a constant training and learning situation.”

Former Cornell softball player Carley Robison ’20, who is finishing up work on her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis at Arizona State University, said she learned a great deal working for Kahl for three years.

“At some point I think I helped out with almost every sport. It was a really, really great experience to learn all those sports in a different light,” she said. “Kerry is present at every single home event. He talks you through the process so you get that visual and audible experience. I even took on some other projects, like helping with roster updates, schedules, football programs, all those tedious things that have to be done behind the scenes.

“Kerry was a great person to work for. I’m not sure I would be the same person without him.” 

Matthew Levins has been a sportswriter for 31 years at The Hawk Eye Newspaper in Burlington, Iowa.