Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Five Minutes With ...

Name: Bret Billhardt

Institution: North Coast Athletic Conference

Title: Assistant Director

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Sports Management, Otterbein University

• Why did you choose to work at the NCAA Division III level?

BB: After competing and earning my undergraduate education at an NCAA Div. III institution, I immediately knew that I wanted to pursue a career at that level. The purity of the athletic competition combined with the academic excellence that so many of the student-athletes possess at this level is what drives me to continue to be a part of the division in my professional career.

• If you could trade places with someone for a day, who would it be and why?

BB: Don Hunsinger… Is there really an explanation needed?

• How would you most accurately describe or define the ideals on which the NCAA Div. III was founded?

BB: The division provides student-athletes the ability to be just that, students first and athletes second. Often times the best stories connected to division III student-athletes have little to do with their achievements on the field, but rather their contributions and successes within the community and the academic world.

• People may be surprised to know that ……

BB: My favorite NFL team is the Miami Dolphins….Although born and raised in the Cleveland area, I have never been and will never be a fan of the Browns.

• Are there any major obstacles that you’ve had to overcome when dealing with Div. III athletics?

BB: I think one of the toughest challenges in working in division III athletics is educating the general public on how we are structured and operate. Instead of looking at Div. III as a well-balanced opportunity for recent high school graduates to continue their athletic and academic careers, many people view it as a “step down” from Div. I and II institutions.

• Do you have any hidden talents that very few people know about?

BB: If I had any unique talents, I surely wouldn’t keep them hidden. So, I guess the answer is NO.

• How did your collegiate experience help to prepare you to be an administrator at the Div. III level?

BB: Being a former Div. III student-athlete, I’m able to relate with the issues and concerns that many of our current student-athletes continue to face on a day-to-day basis.

If you are stranded on an island, you would like to be with ……

BB: Don Hunsinger, Bear Grylls and Macgyver....I wouldn't have to do anything to contribute to the survival efforts.

• What has been your most memorable moment in your administrative career?

BB: Well it hasn’t been a very long administrative career, but it has been a rewarding experience to be accepted into an administrative role at the conference office at such a young age.

• What are the toughest issues facing Div. III athletes in today’s world?

BB: Athletic burnout. Children are being forced into competitive athletic environments at such a young age, and by the time they get to college they are burned out and have little desire to continue competing.

• What’s currently playing on your I-Pod?

BB: I have my “Walkman” tuned to country at all times!!!

• What are some of the life lessons that you believe student-athletes can learn by competing at the Div. III level?

BB: The ability to have balance in life is a valuable trait, and there is no doubt in my mind that Div. III student-athletes learn to develop this trait from the very first day they step foot on campus.

• What would be your advice for someone that is considering enrolling as a student-athlete at a NCAA Div. III institution?

BB: I would recommend that anyone with the opportunity to do so, DO IT.

• How would you best describe your normal day as an administrator at the Div. III level?

BB: I don’t think the word “normal day” and athletics administration really go hand-in-hand. Some days you can be staring at schedules for eight hours, while the very next day you're out at a field handing out a trophy at a championship game. The most normal part of my day-to-day work is that in some shape or form, no matter what I am doing, I am contributing to the numerous outstanding student-athletes that make up the NCAC.

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