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Garrett Sets Direction for Athletics at MNU

Todd Garrett
Accent Winter 2017 Magazine

Todd Garrett has a significant history with MNU. The 1994 graduate played baseball for the Pioneers before landing his first teaching and coaching position in the Olathe Public Schools. Returning to MNU as the head baseball coach in 1998, Garrett led the Pioneers until 2006 when he moved to university advancement and a development role. With experience as a student-athlete, coach, Pioneer Athletic Association director, and fundraiser, Garrett was the logical choice to lead the Pioneers into the next era of athletics. Named to the position on Jan. 31, Garrett recently talked with Chad Jenkins, MNU sports information director, to discuss the new role and his vision for athletics at MNU.

Jenkins: When there is a transition at the helm of an athletic department, there are usually many coaching positions to fill. Currently MNU has three coaching positions open; two presently in an interim capacity. How are you tackling the challenge of filling these spots while keeping the individual sports running smoothly?

Garrett:  We are blessed to have a wonderful core of coaches with a strong history of coaching at the collegiate level, particularly here at MNU.  Their experience, strong work ethic and commitment to student success has made this transition very smooth.

We are using a hiring committee of MNU faculty and staff to screen applicants, perform Skype interviews and final one-to-two-day interviews on campus. To achieve a broad cross section of perspectives, the committee includes a current head coach, faculty member, admissions counselor, associate vice president and myself.

We are committed to finding head coaches for volleyball, women’s soccer and softball, who are great mission fits, strong leaders, committed to success on the field/court and exceptional relationship builders.

Jenkins: How is the process going?

Garrett: It has a been fun to work through the process, learn more about what attracts candidates to MNU, and really validate the quality of who we are as an institution of higher education. I have learned people think fondly of us. It’s a reminder we must continue to pursue excellence in all we do!

Jenkins: When will new coaches be hired?

Garrett: We just announced the head volleyball coach, Christina Ludwick. Each position is significant to the life and future of the University and we will continue to work to find the right leadership in the coming days and months.

In the meantime, we are blessed to have interim head coaches Bobby Reiss (women’s soccer) and Rob Wade (softball) in place.  Their familiarity with MNU, their previous roles as assistant coaches and their evident interest in the well-being of our women athletes has been invaluable during this transition. I am grateful for their willingness to take on this challenge.

Jenkins: What do you want Pioneer fans to know about your leadership philosophy? 

Garrett: I hope our people will begin to recognize my passion for being a guiding support to our coaching staff and athletes as they work diligently to achieve success in all aspects of their lives at MNU.  I hope to build an environment where we support and uphold the mission of MNU by pursuing championships in all we do...a championship relationship with Christ, a championship academic experience and championships in athletic competition! 

Jenkins: Now that MNU has launched the Bright Futures capital campaign there is a plan for new athletic facilities that fans can get behind. Tell us your thoughts about the campaign.  

Garrett: These are exciting days. We're taking the next step in pursuing excellence by planning a first-rate athletic complex that will meet the needs of our existing program while allowing us to serve more student-athletes and develop new athletic programs.

A 2,000 seat stadium will give us the opportunity to reconnect the Pioneers with their home crowd. A new field will bring a home-field advantage to many of our teams and a new track will bring the track-and-field and cross-country teams back home for practice and competition. I fully expect the fans to get excited about and support these plans for Pioneer athletics. 

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