RAPID CITY (July 16, 2013) - South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Athletics Director Dick Kaiser announced Tuesday he will step down to take a new position at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Okla., effective July 31.
He will become Northwestern Oklahoma State's head athletic grounds supervisor and director of its intercollegiate golf program. "This is absolutely a perfect opportunity for me at this point of my career. And to get to be working side-by-side with family, it just doesn't get any better than that."
Kaiser's son, Ryan, is an administrator in the Northwestern Oklahoma State Athletic Department, and one of his main reasons for accepting the new position. He said it was a great opportunity, and he will be able to step into more of a "dad" and "granddad" role.
"I wasn't looking for a change, but I knew if the right opportunity should happen along within the next year or two, I needed to look at it seriously," Kaiser said. "As many people know from personal experience, you don't always get to choose when life throws us a bit of a 'change-up', but when it does sometimes you've got to take a whack at it and see how far it will go."
New Mines President Heather Wilson thanked Kaiser for his hard work and dedication to the university and guiding the athletics department in the right direction.
"I am accepting Dick's decision with regret," Wilson said. "He was the engine that took the Hardrockers to the NCAA, and we are all very grateful for his work. Dick has twin three-year-old grandsons and a chance to be closer to them. He will be missed, and we all wish him the very best."
Kaiser, who was hired in 2009, was the driving force in facilitating the Hardrockers' journey from NAIA to NCAA Division II status. A four-year transition officially ended last week when the Hardrockers received word the School of Mines had officially become a full member.
"The athletic staff at Mines has been absolutely fantastic. I view all that has been accomplished during the past four years as a total team effort," Kaiser said.
Kaiser also expanded the athletics program, including adding support staff and coaches, as well as a new sports program (men's soccer). Within the last six months, both the men's soccer and football programs have been accepted into the Great Northwest Conference (GNAC), a league based mainly in the Pacific Northwest.
He also helped upgrade current facilities and raise scholarships and other funds for Hardrocker Athletics and credited much of the growth to the cooperation and assistance of the Hardrock Club and boosters.
"I have a great deal of respect for all student-athletes at SDSM&T because of what they endure as athletes and as high-level students," Kaiser said. "I will miss those individuals I have gotten to know personally very much. They are terrific people and I'm sure I will read about them sometime in the near future as the leaders of 'tomorrow generation'."
Before arriving at the School of Mines, Kaiser served as the AD for Defiance College (Ohio) for 10 years. In addition, he was the AD at Olivet College (Michigan), Western Oregon University and Willamette University (Oregon).
During his 40-year career as an athletics administrator, Kaiser received a number of honors and awards as an Athletic Director from several athletics organizations such as the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) as well as many regional and state athletic associations.
"I want to thank the late President Robert Wharton and President Heather Wilson for allowing me this opportunity to represent the university as a spokesperson for Hardrocker Athletics. I also would like to acknowledge to everyone connected with the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology during my past four years how much I have appreciated working with them. It has been a tremendous experience and I will forever view my four years at the helm of the Athletic Department as quality moments in my life."