Letter From The Athletic Director
At Pembroke Hill, we offer the opportunity to participate in one of 24 sport programs. We believe athletics play an essential role in the lives of our students. My staff and I are committed to teaching our core values of respect, compassion, scholarship and integrity on the practice field, playing field, court, classroom and community. To manage the high demand of the athletics program, we have a leadership team that is integral in our day to day operations. The athletic team’s goal is to inspire our coaches and athletes to be their best on and off the field. We believe it is our responsibility to provide a growth mindset environment that not only supports our student-athletes and coaches, but also encourages everyone in our community to fulfill our mission: Together, cultivating the best in each, for the benefit of all.
I would like to introduce our team.
Sam Knopik, Assistant Director of Athletics
Sam has been a member of the Pembroke Hill community since 2003. He joined the athletic department staff in 2013 as the assistant director of athletics. His duties include working with the athletic department staff to ensure that transportation, event management and staffing needs are met. In addition to his athletic department role, Sam is a member of the upper school social studies department and the head football coach. Sam is active in the American Football Coaches Association and has served on its Board of Trustees. He has also been the president of the Missouri Football Coaches Association and Greater Kansas City Football Coaches Association.
Prior to joining Pembroke Hill, Sam was a social studies teacher and coach at Truman High School and Moberly High School. He also taught at the Kyiv (Ukraine) International School.
Sam holds a bachelor's degree in history from William Jewell College and a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri.
Lynn O’Toole, Assistant Director of Athletics - Middle School
Lynn has numerous responsibilities at Pembroke Hill. In addition to serving as middle school athletic director, she is also the PE department chair and teacher for grades 6-12. Lynn has been the PHS head varsity volleyball coach since 2001, and in 2021, she secured her 400th career win as a high school varsity volleyball coach. Active in several professional organizations, Lynn is serving as the director of the Crossroads Conference (XRC), the league in which many of Pembroke Hill’s middle school sports teams play.
Lynn received her bachelor of science degree in education from Kansas State University in 1996. She began her teaching career in 1996 in the Vermillion School District, in Frankfort, Kansas. Lynn taught K-12 physical education and health science as well as coached several sports, including track and field, volleyball and basketball at Frankfort High School.
Sam McGriff, Strength and Conditioning Coach
Sam has been the strength and conditioning coach for Pembroke Hill since 2013. His athletic experiences range from amateur boxing to competitive powerlifter. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA, and a Strength and Conditioning Coach-Certified (SCCC) through the CSCCA. He holds certifications through NASM, USAW and NASE. As a coach, he shares in his athletes’ aspirations and aims to make the world stronger.
Sam earned his master’s degree in exercise science from the California University of Pennsylvania. He served in the United States Navy as an operations officer after earning his bachelor’s degree in nutrition and fitness from the University of Missouri.
Larry Huff, Athletic Trainer
Larry Huff has been a certified athletic trainer since 2002 and a licensed athletic trainer in Missouri since 2007. Before joining Pembroke HIll in 2007, he served as an athletic trainer for Ponca City High School in Ponca City, Okla.
He provides athletic training services including injury evaluation and rehabilitation, concussion baseline testing and evaluation, heat safety monitoring and athletic training administrative duties.
Because Larry is employed by PHS, he is dedicated solely to our athletic program. When he is not available, Larry partners with Children's Mercy Hospital to provide athletic training event coverage for various middle and upper school contests. Larry also works with Dr. J.P. Halloran with KC Ortho Alliance for additional medical coverage during home varsity football games.
Larry received his bachelor of education degree in sports medicine with an emphasis in athletic training from the University of Kansas in 2001.
Liddy Maurin, Athletic Administrative Assistant
Liddy has been a member of the Pembroke Hill community since 2016. She joined the athletic department as the administrative assistant to the director of athletics after serving in the Eligibility Center for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Her duties include coordinating eligibility registrations, housing and billing for traveling teams, scheduling meetings, among a number of other duties associated with a dynamic athletic department. Liddy has also served as an assistant coach for upper school girls lacrosse and middle school volleyball. She attended Benedictine College and earned a degree in physical education. While at Benedictine, Liddy played women’s lacrosse and led a strength and conditioning program for the team.
And a little about me.
I have nearly 20 years of college coaching experience leading the softball programs at Penn State University, the University of Texas at San Antonio and Jacksonville University.
In my approach to athletic management, I am particularly dedicated to student personal training and wellness, player engagement, performance progression and development of both coaches and players. A primary focus is to help prepare students for a lifetime of impact.
My family includes coaches and athletic administrators, and therefore a majority of our family bonding occurred at games or discussing lineups at the dinner table! I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where I was a proud member of the Mavericks softball team and earned a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences/human sciences.