Zipp resigns as SU director of Intercollegiate athletics

Doug Zipp

Doug Zipp had an opportunity that was too good to pass up.

Zipp resigned on Thursday as Shenandoah University’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics to  become Director of Athletics at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

“My decision was based on family and there comes a time when you have to make decisions that are in the best interests of family,” Zipp said in a phone interview on Thursday afternoon. “This gives my wife and I the opportunity to get back to Ohio and to be close to family.”

Zipp has been the Shenandoah director of Intercollegiate Athletics for the last five years. Before that he spent 16 years at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. He spent seven of those 16 years as the associate director of athletics for facilities and operations at Kenyon before leaving for Shenandoah.

He said because he spent so much time in Ohio he now has a lot of family that lives in Ohio, and he wanted to move back to be closer to them.

Zipp said that he’s really enjoyed his five years at Shenandoah.

“It was a difficult decision to leave a place that you’ve only been at for five years and that’s given you an opportunity,” Zipp said. “And there’s a lot of wonderful things going on here at Shenandoah. The place is growing. There’s so much potential. Everything is moving in the right direction.”

Zipp said he accepted the job offer at Ohio Wesleyan on Tuesday morning. He said he starts his new job on Aug. 15, and will be at Shenandoah until the end of the first week of August.

Zipp said that one of the things he was most proud of during his five years at Shenandoah was the improvement in academics.

“Our number one priority here at Shenandoah is academics,” Zipp said. “And our student-athletes have excelled in the classroom. When I got here we were about a 2.78 GPA and this past spring semester we were at 3.08.”

One of the biggest developments during Zipp’s tenure was the decision to build a facility for men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field and women’s volleyball.

Construction for the 77,000 square foot James R. Wilkins, Jr. Athletics and Events Center is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2017.

“This has been a dream for 25 years at this place, and I just happen to be in the right place at the right time,” Zipp said. “How I view myself is the conduit to making this dream a reality. It certainly takes a team of players and a lot of support from everyone, but I was the person that was able to sit in the chair and continue so we could move this forward. Certainly it’s a very proud moment, but not just for me but for the university for the community, for everybody involved.”

Zipp’s first year at Shenandoah was also the school’s first year playing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

He said it was tough that first year, but he’s proud of the way the different programs have responded and improved.

“For the first year or two we got punched around physically all over the place,” Zipp said. “And we all came to the realization we have to get bigger, faster, stronger and our teams and our student-athletes have responded to that. I think evidenced by the success that we’ve had with baseball, with field hockey, and women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse. And a number of other sports making a real impact and getting into the tournament and making a run.”

Zipp said he’s very proud of the way the student-athletes have gotten involved with community service, and also with how supportive the community has been of the university and its athletic programs.

He said he’s really going to miss the relationships he’s developed with the student-athletes and the entire coaching staff.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for me and my family,” Zipp said. “It’s a place that I will always cherish and remember and stay in touch with. This is not saying goodbye, it’s saying I’ll talk to you later.”