General News

  Study Committee Encourages Strengthening Programs To Contend for National Championships  

SIOUX FALLS - Following the unanimous recommendation of its 28-member Athletic Advisory Committee, Augustana President Rob Oliver announced today the College has reaffirmed its commitment to compete at the NCAA Division II level.

"I am pleased to announce that Augustana is taking this course," Oliver said. "Division II is an outstanding model for academics and athletics nationally. We intend to invest and build excellence in our athletic programs in pursuit of national standing for Augustana and our student-athletes."

The committee, appointed by Oliver last summer, put in many hours researching options available to Augustana as membership in the North Central Conference continues to dwindle. Augustana has been a member of the NCC since 1942, but three schools have left for Division I, one has announced an intention to move up, and another is considering the move.

The committee was chaired by Kelby Krabbenhoft, president and CEO of Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health Systems, and Dennis Anderson, president of First Dakota Title and a member of the Augustana College Board of Trustees.

"The committee thoroughly studied a number of options," they said. "We applaud the quality of the research and the discussion. In the end, the challenge and opportunity are one in the same: to take Augustana College athletics into the future with excellence and the opportunity to compete for national championships. Division II provides that opportunity and we intend to make the most of it."

The decision of the committee follows an internal, year-long athletics strategic plan that recommended energetic new investments in facilities, scholarship funding, marketing and corporate sponsorships. Recent improvements and planned construction totaling more than $6 million are evidence of Augie's commitment to enhancing the student-athlete experience. Key sponsors include Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health Systems, and the Bob and Kari Hall Family.

"We're excited about these opportunities - for our students, our fans and the community of Sioux Falls ," said Bill Gross, Augustana athletic director. "We're moving forward with energy and enthusiasm and excited to be able to compete for national recognition in Division II."

Gross said that Augustana is pursuing affiliation in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. NSIC Commissioner Butch Raymond met with the Athletic Advisory Committee and indicated the conference is interested in Augustana's participation. "The Northern Sun has improved its profile dramatically in the past few years," Gross said. "It's a good fit."

The NSIC's current membership includes 10 schools in five states: Winona State University , Upper Iowa University , Concordia University-St. Paul, Southwest Minnesota State University , Wayne State College, Northern State University , University of Mary , Minnesota State University Moorhead , University of Minnesota , Crookston, and Bemidji State University .

In his prepared statement, President Oliver offered thanks to the committee for its research, candid discussion and thoughtful deliberations. "This has been a positive experience," Oliver concluded. "Our decision demonstrates to the Augustana community and the Sioux Falls region that we are serious about making smart investments to grow the College academically and athletically."

In addition to President Oliver, Kelby Krabbenhoft, Dennis Anderson, and Bill Gross, members of the Athletic Advisory Committee included:

Augustana College : Loren Koepsell, Vice President for Finance and Administration; Bob Kiner, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Jon Henkes, Vice President for Advancement; Bob Preloger, Vice President for Marketing and Communication; Nancy Davidson, Dean of Admission; Jon Eng, Director of Athletic Development; Karen Madsen, Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Women's Administrator; Marcia Entwistle, Associate Professor of Computer Science and NCAA Faculty Representative; Dr. Murray Haar, Professor of Religion; Dr. Geoffrey Dipple, Associate Professor of History; Brad Salem, Head Football Coach; Tom Billeter, Head Men's Basketball Coach; Dave Krauth, Head Women's Basketball Coach; Kim Sudbeck, Head Volleyball Coach..

Board of Trustees : Bill Lindquist, Vice President and Regional Sales Manager, Wells Fargo Bank; Dr. Greg Schultz, Director of Vascular & Endovascular Services, Sioux Valley Hospital ; John Thomas, retired CEO, Augustine Medical.

Businesss community : Al Schoeneman, President/Owner, Schoeneman's Building Materials Centers; Don Jacobs, General Manager, Results Radio/Cumulus Media; Dennis Holzwarth, Managing Director of Private Asset Management, U.S. Bank, and Chair of the Booster Board; Dana Dykhouse, President and CEO, First Premier Bank; Steve Kirby, President and Founding Partner, Bluestem Capital Company; Jim Heinitz, Director of Sales, Furniture Outlets USA.