Hampton’s rise to the Hall of Fame with Reiver Athletics | Sports news
From a job Brenda Hampton initially turned down to a 14-year career growing and promoting Iowa Western athletics, it’s been a crazy ride for Hampton, the premier Reiver athletics.
After more than doubling the number of sports offered in Iowa Western and transforming the entire scope of Reiver athletics, Hampton is rewarded with induction into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I first learned about this about a month ago when I got a call from Bob Vecchione (NACDA Executive Director),” Hampton said. “He told me this is his favorite time of year to call the recruits. He described it to me and it was pretty amazing. It’s something of a career highlight and an honor. It’s something your colleagues vote on, so it’s really an honor to see them recognize your work.”
In 2002, Hampton completed her 15th season as Reiver volleyball coach and was replaced by former Iowa Western President Dr. Dan Kinney, asked to be the next athletic director at Iowa Western.
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At first she didn’t know if she wanted to give up coaching, but after deliberation and discussions with other coaches at the time, Hampton came around and decided to accept the position.
“By that point, I had been coaching volleyball for a while, and then our old athletic director lost his position,” Hampton said. “DR. Dan Kinney asked me to take over and at the time I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give up volleyball so I told him no at first.
“Over time, we interviewed about two or three of the candidates for the position, and I remember talking to Jim Morris (former men’s basketball coach) after I interviewed her and I was like, ‘Oh no, under we can’t work these guys.’ So I finally went back to Dr. Kinney and said I’ll do it, and it turned out to be a great move for me. I have enjoyed hiring coaches, finding good leadership and being a good mentor.”
After accepting the position, Kinney and Hampton began a plan to more than triple the number of sports offered in Iowa Western. In Hampton’s 14 years of leading Reiver athletics, Hampton oversaw the addition of soccer, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross-country skiing, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, cheerleading, and wrestling.
During her 14 years, she won 19 combined national titles between teams and individual athletes along with one world championship in competitive cheerleading.
“I saw that Dr. Kinney had a vision to greatly increase enrollment at Iowa Western through leveraging the athletic programs, I knew that from the start,” said Hampton. “When I started, we only had five sports, so we started hiring some coaches and adding those programs.
“A lot of research and networking went into adding these programs. We’ve inquired a lot about how other schools are dealing with this and how others who have recently started their programs. It was definitely an exhausting process. I think golf and soccer were the first sports we added and after those settled in we started introducing athletics followed by soccer and then wrestling as we continued to work. It was a lot of research and hiring trainers kept us on our toes.
“And even when the sports were officially added it was still a bit hectic because we started with a total staff of about 10 to 12 people and when I left the athletics team it was over 50 people including coaches, assistants and coaches. ”
Hampton decided to call it a career in 2016, but the marks she made across the various athletic programs can still be seen in some coaches she hired, who stayed or moved on to bigger programs.
Seeing what Iowa Western has become today, six years after his retirement, Hampton says a job like this and building the athletic department to what it is today was a team effort and a project.
“I still follow what’s happening there today and it’s great to see that so many of these sports are still thriving,” Hampton said. “The immediate success of football is quite amazing. They started off so well from the start and the program there with Scott (Strohmeier) just never let up. Marc Rardin was a great coach, and the baseball program remained a powerhouse. It’s incredible to see him win three national championships.
“Even though I wasn’t there, it was great to see Alicia win those titles back-to-back and it’s great to see her get a chance at the NCAA Division-I level. To see men’s football clinching a title while still a young program just goes to show the bar our athletics have now set.
“It takes a lot more people than just me to do a job like this. There are many people at Iowa Western to thank, many athletes, coaches and Dr. Kinney, people I worked with there all played a big part. It takes a lot of people to be so successful. It takes a whole team.”
Hampton will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday, June 27 at 4:00 p.m. during the 57th Annual NACDA and Affiliates Conference at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas