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Hope College names co-athletic director

May 30, 2014
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Hope College names co-athletic director
Melinda Larson. Courtesy Hope College

Hope College’s new co-athletic director is coming to the school from a liberal arts college on the West Coast.

Hope College said this week that is has appointed Melinda Larson to help run the school’s intercollegiate athletic program.

Larson will be working with Tim Schoonveld in overseeing 20 men and women varsity sports at Hope College. The school is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III.

She’ll begin her position on July 1.

Larson was also appointed associate professor of kinesiology at Hope College.

Most recently, Larson served as interim director of athletics at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. during the 2013-2014 academic year.

Athletics and academics

Having heard of Hope College through athletics and as she learned more about the institution’s vision of excellence in academics and athletics and its faith-based mission, Larson felt the school was a good fit for her.

“That’s the business I am in, so we get exposed to colleges and universities who are successful,” Larson said. “The mission of the university, strong traditions, proven excellence, desire to keep that very high standard . . . I felt like I could get on board and jump into the mission of the college.”

Coming from a similarly structured small, private liberal arts college with a faith-based mission, Larson said she feels her key strength is her experience in academics, in addition to athletic programs.

“I think that is the key right there, that combination of academics and athletics,” Larson said. “Hope was very impressive in how strongly they emphasized and clung to that collaborative . . . academics was held very highly and also a strong desire to athletic excellence as well.”

Teaching is "critical"

Scott VanderStoep, dean of social sciences at Hope College, said Larson’s understanding of athletics and the college’s mission was impressive, and she's well trained for the position of co-athletic director and associate professor of kinesiology.

“She has worked as an athletic administrator at a school much like Hope, so she understands Division III athletics at a Christian liberal arts college,” VanderStoep said. “She has academic training that will allow her also to contribute to classroom teaching. This is a critical element for us, as we ask our athletic directors also to teach in our department of kinesiology.”

Background

Larson has 10 years of experience working as the head athletic trainer at Whitworth University, prior to serving as the interim director, and specialized in mild traumatic brain injury and soccer injury epidemiology.

Larson earned a bachelor's degree in sports medicine from Whitworth University and a master’s degree in health education and exercise physiology from Florida International University.

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