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Director of Athletics Jack Leipheimer ’74 set to retire at end of year


Director of Athletics Jack Leipheimer ’74 set to retire at end of year

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College announces today that Director of Athletics Jack Leipheimer ’74 will retire in December 2015. Leipheimer is a member of the President’s Cabinet and responsible for day-to-day operations of the athletics department, including oversight of the College’s 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports, competitive cheer and dance teams, intramurals, and other athletic initiatives.

The athletics department includes more than 40 coaches and staff members, with 300-plus students participating in athletics. His relationship with Thiel College will continue in a part-time role in College Advancement, focused on athletic fundraising.

“Leipheimer’s personal philosophy has always remained the same — reach your full potential. It’s a mantra he instilled in coaches and students, as he urged them to pursue excellence in all areas of their lives,” Thiel College President Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D., said. “He has always stressed the importance of academic and athletic success to Thiel College’s student-athletes. His tenure has included many milestones, and I’m looking forward to his continued dedication to Thiel College in this new role.”

Since being named director of athletics in 2008, Leipheimer oversaw the addition of five athletic teams. He also made significant athletic facility improvements, including:

  • New turf installation at Alumni Stadium
  • Competition level field lighting at Alumni Stadium
  • Locker room and gymnasium renovations
  • The addition of the Rissell-Schreyer Dome at Alumni Stadium

Leipheimer also played a leadership role in the College’s athletic fundraising. In 2015, Thiel College became the first institution in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) to endow a coaching position: the Rod E. Wilt ’86 Head Coach for Thiel College Wrestling.

Thiel College athletes earned PAC Academic Honor Roll recognition 514 times in his tenure.

Prior to becoming athletic director, Leipheimer dedicated more than 30 years of his life to coaching. During his eight years as the Tomcats’ head football coach, Thiel amassed a 36-46 record, including an undefeated regular season and the College’s only NCAA Division III playoff berth and win in 2005. Before coaching at Thiel College, Leipheimer coached at nearby rival Allegheny College for 17 years with 12 seasons as defensive coordinator. He also coached at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, Pa., and Trinity High School in Garfield Heights, Ohio. While a student at Thiel College, Leipheimer was a four-year letter winner in football and part of the 1972 PAC Championship Team. 

He is one of eight members on the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division III Football Committee. The committee is made up of four coaches and four administrators. As a member of the national committee, Leipheimer monitors all Division III teams during the regular season, identifies teams that deserve consideration for the national championship playoff bracket and helps select the field of 32 teams.

Leipheimer is a native of Sharon, Pa. Leipheimer and his wife, Patti, reside in Greenville and have two adult daughters and two grandchildren. Patti will also be retiring from Thiel College in December. She’s currently the coordinator of support services in the Office of Student Life.

Amy Schafer, M.S., will succeed Leipheimer in the role, starting in January 2016. Schafer joined Thiel College in 2005 and is the associate athletic director, head softball coach, senior woman administrator, and department chair of the Department of Health and Physical Education.

About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a Master of Science in speech-language pathology, a Leadership Master of Business Administration and a Management Master of Business Administration. Both master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. The speech-language pathology program also has an accelerated 15-month graduate-level program. The M.B.A. program also has a 12-month post-graduate program. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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