GCCC athletic department reorganizes

2/12/2013

GCCC athletic department reorganizes

GCCC athletic department reorganizes

By ADAM HOLT

aholt@gctelegram.com

For the third time in less than a year, Garden City Community College is reorganizing its athletic department administration.

The college announced Monday in a press release that Vice President for Student Services and Athletics Ryan Ruda will take over as athletic director, replacing Dennis Harp, who was hired last September, among other shifts. The moves were effective Monday.

"One of the things, you get folks, and you build your organization around the talent you have," GCCC President Herbert Swender said. "We looked at our administration, where's our skill sets, where's our talents."

Harp will become director of athletic advancement, and focus primarily on fundraising. Assistant Vice President for Student Services Colin Lamb will become assistant athletic director, moving Dan Delgado from that position to sports information director. Delgado also will handle promotions. Jake Ripple remains assistant athletic director for student success, and will continue working with Lamb to provide academic assistance for GCCC athletes.

The changes were proposed by Swender and discussed at a meeting last week.

Ruda served as interim AD last summer before Harp was hired, and said the experience will help ease the transition to taking full-time duties.

"I think with any position, there's definitely learning curves," Ruda said in a phone interview. "You work to get good people in place there, with good skill sets there, that can help you along there, too. I feel like that's definitely what we have in place here, a good group of people with good skill sets there that we can pull from each other."

"He's just got a lot of experience with managing people and programs," Swender said of Ruda. "It's a natural fit."

The move frees Harp to focus on fundraising, which was largely why he was hired as athletic director to begin with. In his previous stops, Harp built a strong résumé of attracting donors and building capital.

"I think it's laser-like focus now," Harp said of his attention to fundraising. "That was kind of my forte coming in here, so it's a laser-like focus. We want to build on what we've got, what we've had, and keep the momentum going."

Swender and Harp said the athletic advancement officer position is based more on a model many four-year schools use. Although the Broncbusters' athletic programs have seen some good recent success, it's going to take some more money to take that next step.

"As we grow our programs here, it's gonna take more resources," Swender said. "There's a direct correlation between program success and resources."

The changes come on the heels of Harp's hiring in September, which coincided with Delgado's assignment as assistant athletic director. Prior to that, in June, the college reassigned Bob Larson from athletic director to coordinator of athletic activities, a position he still holds, and Ripple from assistant athletic director/sports information director to his current assignment.

"I think the pieces are in place now, where he (Swender) feels in his mind, and I think we all do, that we can do the best for the community college," Harp said.

The athletic department oversees 11 varsity sports which compete in the Kansas Jayhawk Conference.

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