Interim No More: Natalie Winkelfoos Named Athletic Director

Sarah Orbuch, Staff Writer

Interim Delta Lodge Director of Athletics and Physical Education and Senior Woman Administrator Natalie Winkelfoos can take the word “interim” off her title. Last Friday, Winkelfoos was officially named athletic director of Oberlin College, after a month-long interview process. Winkelfoos has held various positions at Oberlin College since 2004, from assistant women’s basketball coach to the associate director of athletics.

“I have become acquainted with college athletics at a variety of levels,” wrote Winkelfoos in an e-mail interview with the Review, “as a student-athlete, a coach, a physical education instructor, a building supervisor, an assistant athletics director, an associate athletics director, senior woman administrator and an interim director of athletics twice.”

Try saying all that in one breath.

The range of positions she has held and her eight years of experience make Winkelfoos worthy of the position. “I embrace the culture of Oberlin College. I am challenged by Oberlin College. I am entertained by Oberlin College.”

Winkelfoos knows the students, the culture and the athletes at Oberlin and understands the need for balance between these things. “The student-athlete who chooses Oberlin College is making the decision to be part of a world-renowned academic institution. They are looking to excel in the classroom and on the playing fields.”

While she hopes each student-athlete can find a good balance, Winkelfoos still encourages each athlete to strive for excellence. “It is my hope that our coaches and staff can assist the student athletes in reaching their full potential while establishing our athletics department as a perennial contender in the North Coast Athletic Conference.”

Because Winkelfoos understands and accepts Oberlin College as an academic institution, she will be able to make an immediate impact within the Athletics department. Winkelfoos is already pioneering the trans training program for all coaches and continues to be a strong advocate for gender equality in athletics. Winkelfoos served on the North Coast Athletic Conference Diversity Committee and has worked with various administrators within the NCAC to create a conference-wide program mentoring females and minorities.

“I view serving the College as its director of athletics as a complete privilege. Excellence prevails consistently in many pockets on our campus, but athletics has yet to fully illuminate the campus with its brilliance. Building on our recent success while honoring our commitment to producing sound minds in sound bodies, the department will excel. I now have the opportunity to shine as its leader, demonstrating care for the students, staff, alumni and friends of Oberlin College athletics — especially as it embarks on the journey of a capital campaign,” said Winkelfoos.

Winkelfoos is looking forward to the recent athletic successes of the fall and winter sports to continue in the spring. “Expectations are high for the spring. and I can’t wait to watch our teams in action.”

When asked where she sees herself and the athletic department in five years, Winkelfoos stated that she will be “asking the custodial staff to make sure our fresh championship banners are hung straight and our trophies are extra shiny.” But for now, Winkelfoos wishes “best of luck to everyone with finals, enjoy the holiday season, and take a study break to eat Chipotle burritos this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the gym!”