By Lauren Gudknecht
On March 29th, Renee Hellert will be taking a big step, becoming the new athletic director at KU. At her press conference on Feb. 26, there was a multi-faceted meeting with many of the university’s athletic faculty members along with KU President Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson, who welcomed Hellert to the team.
“Renee is an excellent choice to carry on the strong tradition of KU athletics,” Hawkinson said. “She has displayed a deep passion for the success of student-athletes, both in and out of the classroom throughout her career.”
Hellert is the first woman in KU history to oversee both men’s and women’s sports. She spent the last four years as the associate director of athletics and senior woman administrator at Moravian College. Before she moved to the Lehigh Valley, she held many administrative positions.
“I am pleased to have Renee leading the Golden Bear athletics into a new era,” added the vice president of university relations and athletics, Matt Santos. “She brings a wealth of experiences to the position and has been preparing to lead an athletic department since she began working in the field as an undergraduate.”
Hellert stated that inclusion is one of her main priorities when she becomes the athletic director here at KU.
“Diversity is very important, and once getting onto campus I will be able to see how diverse the university is,” Hellert said. “Making sure that conversations with coaches and student-athletes happen regarding diversity based on how they feel in the environment that they are in is very important. Hiring in diversity is supreme and should be a campus-wide initiative.”
Digging into budgets for all teams is high on Hellert’s list within her first 30 days in office.
Hellert also plans to review scholarships and fundraising, saying, “Talking to the coaches on where they see opportunity is one of the main focuses, looking at how the money is budgeted out to the sports, how fundraising works here at KU and to realize that Title IX does come into play when talking about fundraised dollars and allocation.”
Hellert ended the news conference by saying, “I am looking forward to continuing the success here at Kutztown University while working with our coaches and our athletic staff to continue to elevate and grow our department.”
Supporters of the Golden Bear community are welcome to watch a live stream of the press conference on the Kutztown University Athletics YouTube channel.
You can also follow Hellert on Twitter.