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New Northern State AD has busy first week

Northern State University athletic director Nate Davis has started his new job. He is just the fifth person to man the position in the history of the school. Photo by John Davis taken 4/25/2022

In reality, things could not have worked out much better for Nate Davis for his first week on the job.

The new Northern State athletic director spent his first full week in Aberdeen watching the Wolves participate in a variety of events.

Davis was able to take in baseball, softball, spring football, track and field, and the Day of Champions.

“It was a pretty good week to start,” Davis said. “That was sort of just dumb luck on my part. That wasn’t planned by any stretch, but it’s worked out pretty well.”

Davis was named the school’s athletic director last month, becoming just the fifth person in school history to man that position following in the footsteps of Clark Swisher, Jim Kretchman, Bob Olson and Josh Moon.

Davis knows all about Northern’s rich history and tradition in athletics. He also understands that he is inheriting a situation that does not need immediate changes.

“I’m not walking into a situation where there’s 5 or 10 things that have to be fixed right now,” Davis said. “It’s a really good situation. There’s a lot of good things in place.”

In addition to the athletes and coaches, Northern’s facilities are among the best in Division II, from new soccer, football and softball fields to upgrades at the Barnett Center.

“The facilities are phenomenal,” Davis said. “It’s really become kind of an arms race in college athletics in all levels and we’re pretty well positioned right now to be where we’re at.”

Naturally, each athletic director has thoughts and plans that may take shape in the future, but for now, Davis simply wants to get to know the surroundings and those who make Northern State sports special.

“My initial goal out of the gate is just really trying to get here and meet people and build relationships,” he said. “Just let them know that I’m here to support them. I want to build those relationships, but also evaluate and kind of see what’s going on.”

Davis said the last thing he wants to do is walk in and automatically start changing things just because he is new to the position. “I think that would almost be insulting to the people that are here.”

Davis comes to Northern from Pittsburg State in Kansas where he served as senior associate athletic director.

He has a grasp on the recent evolution of college athletics ranging from the transfer portal to the NIL (name, image, likeness) that allows athletes to profit from their name or image.

“I think it’s our job as administrators and everybody involved in college athletics just trying to stay current on the trends and try to do the best we can to see what may be coming, what may be trickling down,” Davis said. “It’s no secret almost all of this stuff starts at the top, at the high level, Division I, so just trying to stay connected, and ear to the ground of those things as they start to make their way to Division II.”

For now, Davis is excited to be part of a dynamic sports culture, one that has incredible fan support throughout the region. He said he is already excited about things like the first home football game at Dacotah Bank Stadium this fall and the upcoming Small College Basketball Champions Classic at Wachs Arena this winter.

“I think it’s a lot to look forward to,” he said.

Davis and his wife, Hannah, have one son, Tate.

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