New Athletic Director Has Big Cleats to Fill

Athletic Director Chris Jacob (Carson MacNamara / The Independent)

It’s a common belief that hard work and dedication will eventually pay off in a career. However, for new Clark College Athletic Director Chris Jacob, the payoff came much sooner than expected.

After serving as Clark’s assistant athletic director for nearly two years, Jacob is replacing the former head of athletics, Ann Walker. Walker resigned from her position over the summer to accept a new job as director of events and communication with the Alliance of Women Coaches. The alliance is dedicated to educating female college coaches to help them become strong leaders and positive role models.

Jacob said he is excited about the job and what he can bring to the athletic department. “It’s my first athletic director position anywhere,” Jacob said. “My ultimate goal is to be a collegiate level athletic director. I’m excited and ready for the challenge.”

Jacob said that he plans to bring more excitement and energy to the department, while keeping it moving in a positive direction. Jacob said that this is the first time he will be handling a budget almost entirely by himself.

However, Jacob said that he feels like he has large shoes to fill in Walker’s departure. “I can only hope to do as good of a job as her,” Jacob said. “But that’s not to say that the Penguin athletics are not going to be as successful, or even more successful, because [our] coaching staff is so good.”

While Jacob might still be getting used to his new position, he is very familiar with college and college sports. Jacob participated in both cross country and track and field while pursuing his undergraduate degree in computer information systems at Nova Southeastern University.

Jacob wants to get as many student athletes into four-year schools as possible. After moving to the Pacific Northwest from Florida about two years ago, he has no desire to move again any time soon. Jacob plans to stabilize the athletic department by sticking around for a while, despite the position not being his end goal, which is to get back into the NCAA as a staff member instead of a student.

Jacob explained that he was not surprised by Walker’s resignation. He had worked very closely with her, and knew of her opportunity early. “When you’re working the athletic department, you have to really enjoy the people you’re working with,” Jacob said. “We were really close.”

Sean Janson, head coach of women’s soccer, agrees that Jacob is the best replacement for Walker. He said that with “him taking on that role we severely limited the repercussions of Ann leaving.” Janson said he had worked with Jacob “quite extensively” on efforts such as marketing, roster accuracy and travel equipment prior to him replacing Walker.

Walker was the head athletic director for two years at Clark, and has worked in college athletic departments for 27 years. “I was not looking to leave Clark,” Walker said in a story posted on the Clark College Athletics website. “I decided to accept a position with the Alliance. It is an organization that I believe strongly in, and want to help do good work in helping women college coaches across the country.”

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