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Athletics department deals with uncertainty

As far as Missouri Western’s athletics are concerned, there has been no ‘off season’ this summer, with change and uncertainty being at the forefront.

Western said goodbye to former Athletics Director Dave Williams when it was decided that Williams’ contract would not be renewed.

Western President Robert Vartabedian has been monitoring the process to hire a new AD, and says that the search is going well. Vartabedian said that they had received 82 applications for the position and have narrowed the field to eight semi-finalists. “Unless there are unforeseen complications, at our current rate we should be able to announce our new AD before the end of September,” Vartabedian said.

Following the news that Western would be looking for a new AD, the women’s soccer coach Jeff Hansen resigned to take a head coaching position at Cabondale High School in Illinois to be closer to family, he told the St. Joseph News-Press.

Missouri Western interim athletic director Dan Nicoson said that the biggest obstacle surrounding Hansen’s resignation was the timing of it. “When we heard we had only three weeks until the players were to report, we honestly didn’t know what we could accomplish in three weeks time,” Nicoson said.

Nicoson said they received over 70 applications for the position and was pleased to hire Chad Edwards as the new women’s soccer coach. “We were very fortunate to get a candidate that is highly qualified, and we would consider under any circumstances.”

Head Women’s Soccer Coach Chad Edwards is currently commuting to St. Joseph as he still resides in Overland Park. Edwards says that he feels right at home at Western.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with the attention that has been given to me and the women’s soccer team,” Edwards said. “Everyone has been so fantastic; I feel like I’ve been here forever, and feel like I’ve known these people for a long, long time.”

Edwards is not setting his expectations low for the upcoming season.

“To win the conference championship is the goal each and every year,” Edwards said. “I really want to win that MIAA championship.”

All of these complications occurring as the NFL lockout kept passing all of the supposed “deadlines” being thrown out by many in sports media. Obviously, the lockout meant more to Western as the Chiefs training camp coming to St. Joseph began to look less and less likely as time passed on. Of course, in the eleventh hour a deal was signed and the Chiefs arrived on campus in late July.

Nicoson said that he spoke to the Chief’s president and he was very pleased and surprised with how prepared Western was for the Chief’s arrival. “I took that as a compliment,” Nicoson said.

The Western athletics department weathered quite a storm this summer but may be stronger for it as only time will tell.

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