A once in a lifetime job; Kaiser introduced as new Mines athletics director
By Joshua R. Russo, Journal staff | Thursday, July 16, 2009
RAPID CITY --- After more than 30 years, Dick Kaiser has returned to the state where he started. He was introduced as South Dakota School of Mines & Technology’s full-time athletics director Wednesday at a luncheon in the Christensen Hall of Fame Room at the King Center. “This is a once in a lifetime and a last in a lifetime for me because it is going to be my last job,” Kaiser said. “We are really looking forward to this being here long term and taking it wherever the institution wants to go.”
Kaiser’s career has brought him full circle back to South Dakota, where he started as a linebackers coach at South Dakota State University in 1974. “I can’t tell you how excited I am for this opportunity. When the job opened up on the NCA Web site, I think I applied for it within 24 hours,” Kaiser said. The hiring of a full-time athletics director — made possible by a donation from SD Mines alumni George Dunham — will allow Mines to improve communication between the school and the community, and it will help with fundraising, Kaiser said. “What I would like to bring to South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is a continued level of professionalism that (previous athletics director) Hugh Welsh has obviously started and maintained for many years. And continue to bring a higher level of commitment, both from the community and the institution, allow the individuals to have a great experience here while they are getting obviously one of the best educations in America. Just to continue to raise the level of expectation in the level of success that we have while all the time maintaining the academic integrity of the institution.” Kaiser was selected from 108 applicants, the largest application pool in school history. He said his strength in the field is hiring and retaining quality coaches. He also wants to expand the quality of the school’s athletic programs and improve on scholarships. “I’ll be directly involved in working with coaches and directly mentoring athletes. I will also be directly involved with the Hardrock Club in terms of fundraising and operational budgets.” Kaiser also wants to get the community more involved with the sports programs at Mines. “We would like to make (the sports programs) visible,” Kaiser said. “We want people to see a game or two a year and get fans into the seats. We would like to make their experience the very best we can (make it).” He said Rapid City has a forward-thinking community. He is encouraged by the people he is meeting in only his first 14 days in Rapid City. Kaiser, who grew up in Denver and Boulder, Colo., has worked with coaches and more than 10,000 athletes in a 35-year career. After SDSU, he was the defensive coordinator at Dodge City (Kan.) Community College. Kaiser later coached at Southwest Oklahoma State as an offensive and defensive line coach before taking the inside linebackers coaching position at Brigham Young University — where he coached Kyle Wittingham, the coach of the NCAA Division I undefeated Utah football team from last fall. Kaiser had two more coaching positions at Idaho State and Willamette University, in Salem, Ore. Then, in 1984, Kaiser received a doctorate degree from BYU. For the past 25 years, he has been an athletics director at Willamette, Western Oregon, Olivet College and Defiance College in Ohio - with the past 10 years at Defiance. “All of those schools are a combination of NAIA and NCAA, so I have a little experience in both.”
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.