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Now You Know NADIIIAA with Sara Eisenhauer

Feb. 27, 2018

Sara Eisenhauer
Assistant Commissioner, Upper Midwest Athletic Conference
Number of years in your position2
HometownKenosha, WI (current – St. Paul, MN)
Twitter handle@seisenhauer18

Why did you become involved in NADIIIAA and what has the experience been like so far?
I wanted to join NADIIIAA in order to expand my network within Division III and feel more connected to the issues and ideals that impact our student-athletes. Being involved in NADIIIAA so far has been a great experience as I am now on the Awards Committee. I was also able to attend the Summer Issues Forum and loved the opportunity to meet other administrators from the division and learn what challenges and opportunities others face in different parts of the country.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
I would have to say completing my graduate degree while working full-time as a sports information director at St. Catherine University. I didn't really want to go to graduate school but knew I needed to for my desired career path. It was extremely challenging to find time to go to class with my schedule, work on extensive research projects and balance the demands of being an SID. I am so grateful for those who supported me through it and made accommodations for me to excel in both areas. I learned a lot about myself and my ability to overcome challenges. I know the experience was worth it and will be essential to advancing in my career.

What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
While I admit I have a ton of work to do in this area, I am constantly working on being more patient. Whether it be in working or communicating with people or finding patience through set processes and procedures, you have to have patience in this field - particularly in a conference office. I wouldn't consider myself patient, but it's an area I consistently push myself to be better.

What is your favorite part of being involved in DIII athletics?
I live for the moments when you see the student-athlete experience come full circle. When I was on a campus it was when teams were in postseason or on senior day. Now, in a conference office, it's when we hand out those trophies. For me, I'm drawn to the losing teams or the seniors who are crying. That experience is still so personal and real for me as a former Division III athlete. It's the culmination of four amazing years of putting your whole self into something you're amazingly passionate for and realizing you're a better person because of it. I loved my experience as a student-athlete and I love that I get to be a part of that for other young adults. It's my "why."

If you didn’t have a career in DIII athletics administration, what would you be doing?
I have absolutely no idea what I would actually do as a regular person. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an anchor on Sports Center. That would still be the dream job, but in real life I know I'd be bored if I wasn't working in athletics.

What is your favorite place to visit?
I really haven't had the opportunity to travel much in my life and would love to in the future. In terms of an actual location "place," I would say Chicago. I grew up less than an hour from the city and loved taking the train in to shop and go to museums. In terms of a "place" that I love, I really appreciate more than ever the opportunities I have to go "home" to see my family because they are becoming less and less the older and more busy I become.

What is your favorite sporting event you have ever attended?
Being born and raised a die-hard Packer fan, I've loved every time I've been able to attend a game at Lambeau Field. There is nothing like the atmosphere and the sense of pride that comes with being a part of that experience. 

I also got to touch the Stanley Cup at my alma mater a few years ago - the President/CEO of the Blackhawks (of which I'm a casual fan) is an alum and brought it to campus for viewing for a day. I took off work, drove down with my sister and waited in line. I played hockey for most of my life, so it was an emotional experience when we got to touch it. I cried a ton and my photo was on the front page of the local news.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
"Control the controllable." My assistant coach in college always told us this, and it's something that will stick with me forever. So much of life is things that happen to you that you can't control, which is hard for me because I really enjoy being in control. How you respond to what you can't control makes you a stronger person and often a great leader. I can't think of any saying that makes more sense for me and my experience in working in athletics.

About NADIIIAA - NADIIIAA athletics administrators from over 350 institutions and conferences competing at the NCAA Division III level. The Association encourages the continued development of athletics programs focused on the student-athlete and based on sound educational principles and the Division III philosophy. NADIIIAA is administered by NACDA, which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA, the 17 professional associations and/or three foundations it manages, please visit www.nacda.com.