Words with Winkelfoos

The Review recently caught up via email with the ever-busy Co-Interim Director of Athletics/Associate Director of Athletics for Development & Alumni Affairs Natalie Winkelfoos to discuss jacking three-pointers, posterizing people, and the Athletic Department.

James Blankenship, Sports Editor

Do you feel like the Athletic Director Search Committee has made a significant amount of progress thus far?

Absolutely. The entire search committee has been thoughtful in their approach and has worked incredibly hard to find our next leader. We are all very excited about the direction Oberlin athletics is headed under a new Director of Athletics.

What are some of the things you’ve learned throughout the process of searching for a new AD?

Most importantly, I was reminded to have patience. Hiring someone for any job, big or small, is never easy. It takes a lot of patience, proper screening and careful analysis of your candidates. I put a lot of trust into the people leading our search. I am certain our process has led us to the right person for the job.

What are some of the selling points you use when pitching the athletic department to potential sponsors, alumni, etc.?

The greatest selling point we have is our student-athletes. If you have been reading Sundt’s Scribes on goyeo.com you know why I say that.

Our coaching staff is another great selling point. They commit themselves to developing our student-athletes within their sports while supporting them in everything they do. As an example, Head Football Coach Jeff Ramsey does a phenomenal job of preparing his players on the field and for life after Oberlin.

Actually, our alumni are a huge selling point themselves. I have the pleasure of meeting fantastic alums that credit their experiences as student-athletes as the reason they have found success in their professional and personal lives. Spending time with our alums is one of the best perks of my job. Those are just a few of the selling points.

Having grown up not too far from Oberlin, was the College on your radar when you were considering where to go?

Oberlin College is Ohio’s best-kept secret. I had no idea that Oberlin was located in Ohio until my college team matched up against them on the basketball court. Oberlin was put on my radar again in graduate school when I was given the assignment to visit and assess another school’s campus. Oberlin was the name I drew out of a hat. Ironically, I returned as an employee after completing my Master’s.

What ultimately led to your decision to attend Baldwin-Wallace College?

I was recruited by a lot of schools in a lot of different ways but no one did it better than the women’s basketball coach at B-W. She is the reason I ended up in Berea. It’s a great school with a lot of great people. I felt at home as soon as I stepped foot on campus.

At Division III institutions coaches are an extension of the admissions office and work together to attract quality student-athletes. That’s the beauty of a small school: Everyone collaborates to create a campus environment that all constituents can take great pride in.

Some students might not know this, but you were a two-time all-conference selection in basketball at B-W. Did you give any consideration to playing after college?

Who says I’m not still playing? I’ll take on anyone in a game of H-O-R-S-E in Philips Gym any day, any time. I’ve also been known to tear up the courts at the Lakewood YMCA in a recreational league or two.

You were known for nailing three-pointers. If given the option, would you rather posterize someone for the winning bucket or pop the winning three-pointer?

Because I am already familiar with the feeling of hitting game winning shot, I am all over the option of posterizing someone. Remember, I’m only 5’4”; I never came close to the rim unless I was on a ladder cutting down the net after winning a championship.

Who wins the NBA championship next month?

I would love to see a Finals match-up between the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose are two of my favorite NBA players to watch. Or I will be cheering for anyone that is playing against the Miami Heat. Boo LeBron.