Get to know H-SC's new Director of Athletics, Chad Eisele.

Chad EiseleThis article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 Record.

Hampden-Sydney's new director of athletics joins the Tigers after 25 years working in collegiate athletics, as both a coach and an administrator. Chad Eisele's career has included stints at a variety of institutions-public and private, large and small, urban and rural—all of which have prepared him to take the helm of Hampden-Sydney athletics. 

Several of Hampden-Sydney's unique attributes drew Eisele to the College, especially its sense of history, athletic legacy, and enduring mission. "There wasn't going to be another opportunity to serve at one of the oldest colleges in the nation," notes Eisele, "and the mission to form good men and good citizens has clearly stood the test of time. From the moment I arrived on campus, it was clear that Hampden-Sydney's mission statement isn't just a slogan on a bumper sticker. Everyone I spoke with—from Trustees, to professors, to coaches, to students—has bought into it completely."   

That distinctive mission creates a campus environment that Eisele calls refreshing. He says, "Our students are engaged and confident. When you walk through a lot of other college campuses, students don't look up from their cell phones or take out their ear buds. At Hampden-Sydney, they stop and say hi, shake hands, and introduce themselves." 

Eisele comes to H-SC from his own alma mater, a small liberal arts college in Illinois that shares many similarities with Hampden-Sydney. One distinct difference between Knox College and H-SC, however, proved to be another draw for Eisele. "Because Hampden-Sydney is an all-male institution, we get to fully concentrate on just ten teams," he explains. "That frees up a lot of time to invest in the student-athletes' lives, travel with the teams, attend more home games—and not just the high-profile sports like football and basketball."    

From the moment I arrived on campus, it was clear that Hampden-Sydney’s mission statement isn’t just a slogan on a bumper sticker.

Chad Eisele, Director of Athletics

Twenty-one of Eisele's 25 years in higher education have been spent at Division III schools, and his passion for Division III athletics is clear. "In a non-scholarship program, students participate for the love of the game and to be part of a team," Eisele says. In addition, he appreciates the balance that Division III student-athletes can achieve. "Athletics are an important part of our students' lives, but not the only part. They can still join a fraternity, a theater production, the student senate—they can enjoy all aspects of the college experience."  

A key goal for Eisele's first year at the College is to thoroughly evaluate the athletics program—both current use and future needs—focusing on budget, staffing, and facilities. He is impressed with the athletic facilities H-SC boasts: "I would argue that our football and baseball stadiums are some of the top Division III venues in the country, but updating the field house, built almost 40 years ago, is a top priority." And Eisele's ultimate goal will please all fans of Tiger athletics.  He says, "I want all ten of our teams to compete for the ODAC Championship, year in and year out."  

Eisele's 17 years as a football coach include head coaching positions at Knox College, Minnesota State University-Moorhead, and Lake Forest College, where he took the team to the NCAA Division III playoffs and was named Midwest Conference Coach of the Year in 2002. His collegiate coaching experience extends to baseball and tennis, as well; as head coach of men's tennis, Eisele led Lake Forest to a conference championship. In 2006, Eisele became the athletic director at Knox College, a position he held for more than a decade. During that time, he was appointed to a four-year term on the NCAA Division III Football Committee, an eight-member national committee responsible for evaluating Division III football teams, assisting in the selection of top teams, and creating the national championship bracket.  

Eisele holds a master's degree in sports administration from Wayne State University and a bachelor's degree in political science from Knox College, where he competed in track and field, baseball, and football, earning All-Conference distinction three times as a defensive back. 

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