Hope College has appointed Melinda Larson to help lead its intercollegiate athletics program.
As co-athletic director, Larson will join Tim Schoonveld in administering the college’s 20 varsity sports for men and women. Also appointed associate professor of kinesiology, Larson succeeds Eva Dean Folkert, who stepped down after the 2013-14 school year.
Larson comes to Hope from NCAA Division III member Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Scott VanderStoep, Hope’s dean for the social sciences, said that Larson is a terrific addition to Hope’s athletics leadership team and academic program.
“Melinda impressed everyone with her understanding of Hope Athletics and the college’s mission,” VanderStoep said. “All the coaches are very excited to work with her. I know our student-athletes will love her, too.”
Larson begins working at Hope on July 1.
“Melinda is uniquely trained for this position,” VanderStoep said. “First, she has worked as an athletic administrator at a school much like Hope, so she understands Division III athletics at a Christian liberal arts college. Second, she has academic training that will allow her also to contribute to classroom teaching. This is a critical element for us, as we ask our athletic directors also to teach in our Department of Kinesiology.”
Larson has worked at Whitworth, her alma mater, since 1995. She served as Whitworth’s interim director of athletics during the 2013-14 school year and oversaw the school’s 20-sport varsity program.
Larson said she is excited to join Hope’s department of kinesiology and serve the student-athletes at Hope.
“Hope College has an admirable history of strong academics and athletics and continues to be dedicated to providing holistic education and experiences for student-athletes,” Larson said. “The coaches and administrative staff are extremely supportive of the academic pursuits of their students and at the same time committed to excellence in athletics. My desire is to uphold the mission of Hope College to educate students for lives of leadership and service through the endeavor of collegiate athletics.”
Larson graduated from Whitworth in 1992 with a degree in sports medicine. She received the M.A. in Health Education with an emphasis in exercise physiology from Florida International University in 1994.
Before becoming interim athletic director at Whitworth, Larson worked as Whitworth’s head athletic trainer for 10 years. In 2011, she was named the school’s Athletic Training Education Program Director.
As an athletic trainer, Larson specialized in mild traumatic brain injury and soccer injury epidemiology. As a professor, Larson’s specialty was in pathophysiology and therapeutic modalities. She received the National Athletic Trainers Association Outstanding Service Award in 2010.
Larson worked as an assistant athletic trainer and instructor at Whitworth from 1995-1999 and as an assistant athletic trainer and adjunct instructor at the University of Alabama Birmingham from 1994-1995.
Larson played varsity basketball at Whitworth before graduating in 1992.