Rhodes athletics grows in size, stature


Photo courtesy of Rhodes College

Rhodes College BCLC at dawn.

Rylan Lorance '21, Staff Writer

As many of fall sports start into their regular seasons, students will see the Athletic department has been seeing a lot of new changes. The changes begin from the top, with new Athletic Director Portia Hoeg bringing new ideas to the growing department. Alongside these changes is staff, physical renovations and additions to our current facilities.

Hoeg started work on June 23, coming from Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn. and President Hass to run the department.

“I hope to provide a quality student-athlete experience, continue to perform at a high level in the classroom (exceed a 3.3 department GPA), championship level effort and competition for all of our athletic programs in the SAA and NCAA, enhance school spirit and increase fan attendance,” Hoeg said. “I want each team to perform at least one community service project, and to expand our presence in the Memphis community and media.”

She was immediately tasked with hiring new coaching staff in many of the sports teams. One of the most pressing hires was finding a new men’s basketball coach. The men’s basketball team welcomes  new coach Tyler Papadinas. The decision process lasted into the summer, and Papadinas joined for the 2018-2019 season from MITwhere he coached the team into a 66-20 season.

“I plan to recruit the best student athletes, both from Tennessee and beyond, that fit the culture here at Rhodes and within our basketball family,” Papadinas said. “We will view everyday as an opportunity to improve. We won’t rush the process and we won’t skip any steps. It will be our goal to be a team that defends and rebounds at a high rate while also sharing and taking care of the basketball. We hope to be playing our best basketball in February and March.”

Other hires include Assistant Softball Coach Sam Wroblewski;  Assistant Volleyball Coach Kendal Serling; Assistant Athletic Trainer Alyssa Monahan; Assistant Football Coach Nathan Luce; Defensive Coordinator Henry Wrienrich; and Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach Abbey Barnum.

Assistant Director of Athletics Matt Dean also updated many of the facilities on campus, including locker roms for every sports team. Rhodes added new speaker systems for almost all of their outdoor stadiums, new graphics in the training rooms, and new portable press boxes called “donkeys” which can be used for the soccer and field hockey fields.   

“Obviously, as enrollment grows, we have challenges with space, so we were trying to be creative to find more space,” Dean said. “If you walk into the football locker room, you may think that you are in a Division 1 locker roomthat’s not most important, but I am proud of that.”