College of DuPage’s new Director of Athletics and Recreational Programs Ryan Kaiser believes that building relationships will be the key ingredient in creating a successful and vibrant culture in the Chaparral Athletics program.
“It is all about relationships,” he said. “I don’t want kids to come here just to play sports, get their education and leave without us hearing from them again. I want them to pour themselves into the College. We will be there when they land scholarships, get their degrees and move on to their next step.”
An Oregon native, Kaiser has 17 years of experience in athletics. He most recently served as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at Lindenwood University in Belleville. He also has been either athletic director or associate/assistant director at Northwestern Oklahoma State, Warner Pacific University, Newberry College and Western Oregon University.
“Working in college athletics is the greatest thing that I’ve been able to do. I have an opportunity to help develop like-minded people into better brothers, daughters, husbands, wives and parents.”
A major area of focus for Kaiser is ensuring that student-athletes are successful in both sports and the classroom.
“Chaparral Athletics has the potential to rekindle its glory days of challenging for national championships,” he said. “However, it’s not just about being successful on the courts, fields and fairways. I also want our student-athletes to be here for a purpose and gain the skills to transition to whatever their walk of life is, whether it’s in welding, health care, teaching or another career.”
Kaiser is collaborating with Student Athletic Enrichment Coordinator Brian Johnson to help get student-athletes who have struggled academically back on track.
“We will be having accountability meetings where we talk to them about what being a successful student means for their future. Being a student-athlete is a privilege. You have to earn it and that starts in the classroom.”
Kaiser understands that increasing community involvement and building a stronger fan base will require putting together quality teams as well as connecting with the community.
“We have to be competitive on the courts, fields and fairways. We also have to engage our community beyond fitness and sports and I will lead that effort. I am already developing relationships with students, faculty and staff. For example, I just signed up to be a judge for the Forensics Team’s Speech and Debate Tournament. I think it’s important for us in athletics to see ourselves as people who are a part of the larger community.”
Kaiser is motivated by a variety of factors, including his wife, Corie, his 10-year-old twin sons, Caden and Carson, and his father, Dick Kaiser, who is Commissioner of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and worked 19 years as an athletic director. He is also driven to help the people with whom he works and interacts.
“What drives me to be successful is knowing that each day, I have an opportunity to impact the mission, vision and values of College of DuPage and the people who belong to it.”Learn more about athletics at College of DuPage.