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45 Years of Growth

Bob Boerigter served as athletics director at 5 schools

By Tony Rehagen

Bob Boerigter had been a high school coach for only two years when his alma mater, Northwestern College in Iowa, hired him as the new basketball coach. He was 24. “I asked the athletic director, the guy that hired me: ‘Do you really think I can do this?’” Boerigter says. “He told me, ‘I wouldn’t have asked you to do it if I didn’t.’”

Boerigter quickly learned age was not synonymous with maturity, and he took the lesson to heart. He attacked challenge after challenge, from getting his doctorate, to taking a job as athletics director at Hastings College in Nebraska, to accepting the same title at bigger Northwest Missouri State University, and finally, in 2010, to becoming Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association commissioner. He will retire from that position Jan. 31 after 45 years in college sports.

During his MIAA tenure, he oversaw the expansion of the league to 16 full-time teams and several associate members and helped bring several NCAA national championships to MIAA venues. In 2013, Boerigter chaired the Division II Management Council. Under his leadership, the council helped pass the Path to Graduation legislation and appointed Terri Steeb Gronau as Division II vice president.

Boerigter says he has most enjoyed the men and women he’s worked with in the MIAA, especially the administrators and coaches on campus − people who’ve helped him continually meet new challenges.

“I feel that I’ve been able to grow,” he says. “I have 45 years of experience. Some people just have one year and repeat it 45 times. There’s a difference.”

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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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