NACWAA, NCAC Honor Oberlin Administrators


Benjamin Shepard

College President Marvin Krislov (left) and Natalie Winkelfoos share a laugh outside the Austin E. Knowlton Athletic Complex. This summer, the NCAC elected Krislov as Conference president and the NACWAA awarded Winkelfoos Administrator of the Year for Division III Athletics.

Sarena Malsin, Sports Editor

Oberlin’s Administration earned commendations for achievement in athletic leadership and manage­ment this summer. President Mar­vin Krislov was elected President of the North Coast Athletic Confer­ence, while Delta Lodge Director of Athletics Natalie Winkelfoos was honored with the NACWAA award for Administrator of the Year in Di­vision III Athletics.

Both Krislov and Winkelfoos were recognized for being inclusive, accessible leaders who exert a con­centrated effort to provide athletic opportunities to all students, es­pecially those who are potentially disadvantaged in athletic commu­nities, according to NCAC and NAC­WAA press releases for the honors.

Krislov’s responsibilities in the NCAC will not drastically change with his new position, as the con­ference’s decisions and initiatives are still decided by the administra­tive group as a whole. The main ad­dition to his role will be to convene administrative meetings, he said.

According to Krislov, his new position in the NCAC doesn’t fall outside board services that school presidents typically provide. He was active in NCAC’s administration, and many other administrative boards, long before his ascension to conference president.

In previous years, Krislov chaired a committee on diversity that even­tually led to the NCAC Branch Rick­ey initiative, a proposal to hire more coaches actively committed to pro­moting racial diversity in staffing.

The initiative, launched in 2008, is named for Branch Rickey, man­ager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who brought Jackie Robinson to the team in a historic breach of the color barrier in the sports world. The program was recognized with a large grant stipend from the NCAA.

“What we were noticing — and it’s still a challenge — is as we were recruiting for [staff and coaching positions], we did not always have the most diverse pools,” Krislov said.

This mindful leadership is also what earned Natalie Winkelfoos recognition for her transformative effect on the athletics program, which she believes is on a positive trajectory at Oberlin.

The NACWAA, a premier leader­ship summit for women working in intercollegiate athletics, honored Winkelfoos based on her “intel­ligence, enthusiasm and ability to manage people” and her reputation as an “innovative, inspirational and inclusive leader,” which they believe have revitalized health and well­ness at Oberlin. “This honor is just another signal … that Oberlin Col­lege athletics has arrived,” Winkel­foos said.

The Athletic Director empha­sized that it wasn’t just summer accolades, but the entire 2014-2015 year that spoke volumes for the progress made in Oberlin’s athletics program.

Five coaches — women’s la­crosse coach Lynda McCandlish, men’s tennis coach Eric Ishida, women’s swimming and diving coach Andrew Brabson, women’s cross country coach Ray Appen­heimer and women’s basketball coach Kerry Jenkins — were dis­tinguished as conference Coach of the Year. Additionally, Oberlin College finished fifth in the NCAC All-Sports Trophy competition, the school’s highest finish to date.

This growth, according to Win­kelfoos, is the result of a firm com­mitment across the athletic depart­ment to use athletics as an avenue to generate pride and energy for the entire Oberlin community.

Goals of revitalization through inclusion will be at the center of Winkelfoos’ plans for Oberlin in the coming year, she said.

“Our department would very much like to proclaim ourselves as constant contenders for champion­ships, but our goal is always to es­tablish venues … that add value to the college experience for all mem­bers of our community,” she said.

Krislov’s plans within the NCAC for all conference schools also high­light accessibility in athletics. He mentioned foundations for discus­sions to “make sure students are able to balance athletics and com­petition,” an allusion that will likely translate into clarifying student schedules with regards to athletic events and continuing efforts to garner support for athletics within the conference schools.