Meet Oregon Tech's New Athletic Director
John Van Dyke hired as new AD
Noheaililani Waiwaiole, Staff Writer
On January 22, President Dr. Nagi Naganathan announced John Van Dyke to serve as Oregon Tech's new athletic director (AD).
Van Dyke has been on campus working since February 1, after relocating to Klamath Falls from the Seattle-Tacoma, WA area. Interim AD, Greg Stewart, will return to working as the associate athletic director and continue as head coach of the Oregon Tech softball team. Van Dyke worked at Northwest University (NU) in Kirkland, WA as the men's head basketball coach since 2000 and the assistant athletic director since 2001.
"I am really excited to be at Oregon Tech," said Van Dyke. "I am excited to have the opportunity to lead an athletic department that is already meeting so much of its potential, but still has room to grow."
Van Dyke has known about Oregon Tech since he entered the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) as the men's head basketball coach 18 years ago at NU. Through coaching he met the longtime and highly esteemed former Oregon Tech Men's Basketball Coach Danny Miles. Miles became a mentor to Van Dyke who would visit Klamath Falls during the summers to learn from Miles, one of the “winningest” coaches of all time.
"I have known about Oregon Tech for a long time," said Van Dyke. "I've known this is a school that has great resources, the ability to win national championships, and of course great people. I did not know that Oregon Tech is so academically rigorous, which was a great surprise."
Early on Van Dyke realized the job would be a strong fit, since his own personal goals and the mission statement of the athletic department are aligned. Such goals from both parties include, academic excellence, champions of character, and winning games.
Van Dyke further explains success for the athletic department as accomplishing budget and fiscal responsibility, excellent team performances, and further developing athletic facilities. Furthermore, Van Dyke is looking for team excellence not only in terms of performance or outcomes on the court or field, but also academic excellence and character development.
Character and producing quality student athletes is important to Van Dyke, which coincides with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Champions of Character program, a values approach to changing the culture of sports. Van Dyke won Coach of Character in 2013-2014, an illustration of the ethics he holds dearly.
"We are certainly not going to be a win at all costs program," said Van Dyke. "I am very much concerned with character development and the quality of the student athlete's that coaches are recruiting, which has been great so far. At the same time, I do want to produce teams that can win national championships."
The new AD believes Oregon Tech already has great coaches and teams. Also, evidence shows student athletes have been excelling academically, with an overall GPA of 3.41 for the 2016-2017 school year, number one in the CCC. Therefore, Van Dyke wants to help improve athletic department community outreach and involvement.
Although Van Dyke already knew several of the Oregon Tech coaches, he is thankful for how welcoming the coaches have been since he started working in February. The coaches and especially former interim AD Stewart have been a key part of this transitional period for Oregon Tech athletics.
"My favorite part of the job so far has been getting to know the people and some of the student athletes," said Van Dyke. "I have also enjoyed traveling with some of the teams and watching them play."
Van Dyke describes himself as a people person and particularly enjoys working with student athletes and coaches. In February, he traveled to support both the men's and women's basketball team's playoff games. More recently, he returned from the track and field CCC championships in Hermiston, OR and softball regionals in Lawrenceville, GA.
Van Dyke explains his biggest challenges so far have been learning the processes and protocols of being an AD from a business perspective. Being the former assistant AD at NU helped prepare him to continue learning and hopefully excelling in such aspects of the job.
As a former head coach, Van Dyke claims he can understand where current Oregon Tech coaches are coming from as well as how to help and what they want. Ultimately, Van Dyke hopes to be an advocate for Oregon Tech coaches and student athletes.
Although Van Dyke misses certain aspects of coaching, such as developing relationships with student athletes and the strategy behind basketball, he is excited to be the coach of a new team: the Oregon Tech athletic department.
Van Dyke sees himself finishing his career as Oregon Tech's AD and plans to help form one of the best athletic departments in the country.