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Ripon College sports enters new era with Chris Schumacher as director of athletics

Ripon College sports enters new era with Chris Schumacher as director of athletics
Posted at 8:43 PM, Jul 03, 2023

RIPON — It’s an exciting time for Ripon College athletics. They’re opening up a brand new football and soccer field this fall.

Last month they introduced a new athletic director, Chris Schumacher, who previously worked as the assistant AD at Illinois Wesleyan University.

He has a deep Division III background and he’s hit the ground running since he took over the job on June 1.

“I had some opportunities but I was waiting for the right one and when I came to Ripon I fell in love with the campus, the people – I’m beyond excited to be here,” Schumacher said.

Schumacher brings a deep knowledge of Division III athletics. He’s on the UW La Crosse Athletic Wall of Fame as he shined for their track and field and football teams. He’s also coached at the level for many years. Division III sports is about playing for the love of the game.

“They’re not paid to be there," he said. "They’re passionate about the sport. They get up everyday and they work hard at it because they want to. Their entire existence doesn’t surround around athletics, but at the same time, they want to compete at the highest level.”

Playing for the love of the game is special, but for Schumacher, academics are the most important part of being a Division III athlete.

“Having a school that really took academics seriously because we want to graduate and send people out in the world ready to do some exciting things and we’re not here just to produce numbers,” he said. “We want to have a very high retention rate and that’s important.”

This fall the school will debut a brand new football and soccer field right on campus. They will no longer share a stadium with the high school.

“This stadium is exciting for the entire campus,” said Schumacher. “There’s going to be so many different events that are going to take place here. Obviously, soccer and football are the ones that stand out, but we’ll have concerts and other opportunities and maybe some high school playoff football games. Just to have something kind of in the center of the campus, versus having to go off campus is going to be really important. It’s going to help with recruiting.”

Schumacher admittedly could have stayed where he was at and coasted in retirement. But being from Wisconsin this opportunity was too good to pass up. Not just because of the academics and athletics, but also, the people.

“It was people that really did it for me because you can have great building, great facilities, but if you don’t have people excited about being there, it’s not going to be that fun to work at," he said.