New administrative roles selected in Athletic Department

The Athletic Department has filled administrative positions, sorting out the responsibilities of resigning Assistant Athletic Director Ron Peterson. Bob Nutgrass, head of the Physical Education Department, will be taking on the role of compliance coordinator while resigning as the men’s and women’s head tennis coach. Lana Smith, senior women’s administrator and head volleyball coach, will take the position of Assistant Athletic Director.

According to Athletic Director John Sirianni, the role of compliance coordinator is to handle all of the eligibility work.

“His primary duties deal with legislation of the school, the conference and the NCAA to make sure all the student athletes, coaches and programs abide by all of the guidelines set,” Sirianni said.

Nutgrass will work with the registrar’s office, the conference commissioner and two outside Simpson faculty members, Mark Juffernbruch and Jennifer Nostrala, to ensure athletes are meeting all of the requirements and to address any violations of athletes or coaches. He will also make sure each student athlete is eligible prior to the start of their practice season, at semester and going into the next year.

Nutgrass is excited to build more relationships with the new role.

“I’m looking forward to being able to work with student athletes on eligibility issues, the conference commissioner, other schools and people in the conference office,” Nutgrass said.

Nutgrass is also looking forward to holding the honest reputation of Simpson College.

“We pride ourselves at Simpson running what we call a clean program,” Nutgrass said. “I think we have a reputation in the conference as one of the schools that follows the rules pretty strictly, so I’m looking forward to continuing that kind of situation.”

Because of the new responsibilities and their added time commitment, Nutgrass will be resigning from the tennis programs after 12 years.

“I thought it was a good time to take over the NCAA work and then hand off the tennis program to someone new,” Nutgrass said. “I’ve felt that it’s time for the tennis teams to take new directions and get some new leadership.”

Nutgrass will officially be done with tennis at the end of the men’s season and will transition to compliance duties May 1.

Nutgrass was a natural choice to fill the position because of his previous experience in administration and his familiarity with the educational system.

“Bob indicated to me that he would be interested in doing something in this nature,” Sirianni said. “At one point, many years ago he served as administrator and has that experience, and so much of this deals with academic issues. Bob has been head of the Physical Education Department and is a tenure faculty member, so his background experiences and his knowledge of the educational system at Simpson made [him] an obvious choice.”

Although Smith is not sure yet what her exact duties will be, they could include marketing, fundraising, facilities, game or meet preparation, supervision, personnel and day-to-day operations.

Smith is looking forward to more involvement in the department and was also a natural choice for the position.

“I’ve worked on our administrative team for nine years and I think it will be a smooth transition to pick up those duties,” Smith said. “I feel comfortable doing those things since I’ve had experience with all those duties already, so it seems like a natural thing.”

Sirianni also mentioned that they are still working on sorting out the rest of the duties and specifically deciding who is doing what.

“We’re in the process of working down the list of who will take over what duties and what the priorities [are],” Sirianni said. “There’s a breakdown of responsibilities with the people and the amount of time that they have dedicated to other things besides coaching.”

Smith said there is usually some change in roles, but nothing extreme.

“This time of year there’s always a little bit of shifting,” Smith said. “People take on different things year-to-year and we do anticipate there will be some shifting of duties, but nothing very, very drastic.”

Nutgrass says they’re working to get the best people in the right positions.

“I think our philosophy is kind of that you either stay the same or get worse if you don’t improve, so we’re always looking forward to try to move ahead,” Nutgrass said. “We want things to get better so we work to that end to try to get new personnel, fill new positions, work with them in their strengths and make things better.”