At the end of the semester, two key Raider athletic staff members are stepping down from their positions after years of dedication to Northwestern athletics.
After 14 years with NW, Barry Brandt will relinquish his title of athletic director. Earl Woudstra, currently the assistant athletic director and a professor of kinesiology, will assume Brandt’s title next fall. For Brandt, this decision was years in the making.
“I’m 67 years old,” Brandt said. “Two years ago, I talked to President Greg Christy about retirement and how the college was feeling. Together we looked at a retirement date. The timing makes sense.”
Brandt described his time at NW as a blessing and said he thought Raider athletes competed in a God-pleasing way.
When Brandt was a student at NW, the idea of being an athletic director never even crossed his mind.
“It totally was not on my radar,” Brandt said. “I coached a lot of sports over time, and always enjoyed the classroom. I figured I would teach until retirement.”
It wasn’t until Brandt was on summer vacation in 2000 that the dean of students called him with a proposition. In late July, Brandt was offered the interim athletic director position for the following school year.
Facing much trepidation about applying for the job, Brandt wasn’t convinced until a good friend and coaching comrade was mentioned in the equation.
“I was told that Dale Thompson had agreed to help with the finances,” Brandt said. “Under those circumstances, I said I would do it.”
The very person who was the seal on Brandt’s deal with NW athletic department is also stepping down from his position.
Dale Thompson, RSC and intramurals director and assistant coach for the Raider cross country and track teams, will retire at the end of the 2014 school year.
Carrie Krohn, financial services counselor in the NW financial aid office, will take his position. The longest tenured faculty member, Thompson has served NW for 33 years.
Gifted with a propensity for descriptive analogies, Thompson likens the college experience to the flow of a stream.
“I’ve always pictured college as faculty and staff standing on a shore of a stream while students float by,” Thompson said. “Nothing happens by accident, but it’s hard to see the (faculty) change from the student perspective.”
In college, Thompson truly embraced what it meant to be a student-athlete, and he is not shy about sharing wisdom his athletes.
“I learned to study because of running,” Thompson said. “I remember a moment in college where I decided if I could make myself run for 10 miles, I could sit in a chair and read. You can become a good athlete in the classroom.”
To focus on the rest of the spring semester, Thompson and his wife, Judy, are waiting to begin planning the retired life.
“My wife and I are waiting on the Lord,” Thompson said. “We have no plans. God brought us here 33 years ago, and here we are. We are confident that God will supply, and we will continue to faithfully move forward.”