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20 Questions Member Spotlight with Bill Popp

Feb. 16, 2018

Name: Bill Popp
Position/Institution: Reinhardt University
Number of years in your position: 13
Alma Mater(s): Kennesaw State University
Hometown: Canton, GA
Institution Athletics Twitter Handle: @ReinhardtAthletics

1) Why did you become involved in the NAIA-ADA?
An opportunity to work with other great athletic directors around the country and help shape the future of the NAIA.

2) What is your favorite part about being a member of the NAIA-ADA?
To develop relationships on common ground topics and hopefully come up with solutions that work for the entire membership.

3) What is the biggest challenge to working in a university environment?
Being a small private enrollment driven institution we deal with the same challenges that many schools similar to ours face like budget, staffing, and fund-raising. While each of us have unique challenges at our own institutions we all seem to end up with many of the same issues.

4) What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?
Being able to have an impact on the success of the athletic department and the University while not sacrificing academic success and character.

5) What is the most important skill you have developed in your career?
Communication Skills…..Speaking with Passion and Confidence.

6) Who has been the most influential person in your career?
Too many to name just one. My father was the greatest role model I could have ever asked for. I have a few others that impacted my growth in college athletics. Jack Berkshire, Chip Reese, Jim Owen, and Presidents Isherwood and Mallard at Reinhardt.

7) What is one item you cannot live without?
I guess I have to say my phone but mainly because of the music that is on it.

8) Who would you chose to switch places with for a day?
Just about any major league pitcher. It would be fun to live that fantasy out even if only for a day.

9) If you could plan a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Rome and Florence Italy and the surrounding countryside. For relaxation any quiet beach an hour or so before sunset.

10) What is your favorite sporting that event you have ever attended?
“Little Brown Jug” Michigan vs Minnesota in 1977….The Big House. That was quite impactful on a young set of eyes and ears.

11) Why/when did you decide to pursue a career in collegiate athletics?
During my senior baseball season at Kennesaw State I helped coach an East Cobb 15 year old travel team, I had the coaching bug from then on. Also did an internship with the athletic department at Oglethorpe University which led to my first job in athletics.

12) In your mind, who in this industry can serve as a good role model?
Any and all of us can have an impact on students today. The more of us that speak the language of strong character and ethical behavior the more likely the younger folks are going to pick up on it.

13) How has your involvement with the NAIA-ADA influenced your career?
Being involved and knowledgeable about the hot topics and the impact it can have both locally at our institutions and nationally. The ADA provides a resource for all of us to use to grow professionally.

14) What educational or business experiences best prepared you for a career as an Athletics Director?
As I mentioned before my internship in college athletics and my involvement with high level summer travel baseball were some of the best and most practical experiences for me.

15) What challenges do you face when working with student-athletes?
Mainly their decision making and trying to get them to understand the impact that all decisions, good or bad, can have and then educating and informing them so they can make good decisions on their own.

16) Would you please explain a professional success and how you implemented it?
We have been able to start thirteen sports in ten years at Reinhardt. Each time we did a proposal and outlined as many of the known facts that we could find on beginning a program. We have been fortunate enough to have success with most all of our start-ups.

17) What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? What advice would you give to someone looking to become an NAIA Athletics Director?
Find what you love to do and have passion for then it will not be considered work. For those who want to become athletic directors, learn as much as you as you work your way up the ladder. You never know what the job is going to look like a daily basis so the more knowledge you have the better off you will be once you are in a leadership position.

18) What was your biggest professional blunder and how did you learned from it?
I really think being at small private institutions with some of our limitations made me want to micro-manage all areas of the athletic department and we all know that is impossible.

19) What percentage of your work-week is spent in your office?
A lot of office hours answering e-mails. I really try to get out and spend time with staff and coaches in their spaces.

20) What are you most looking forward to at the next NAIA or NACDA Convention?
As always gathering with friends and colleagues as well as working to continue to make the NAIA a strong home for great student-athlete experiences.

About NAIA-ADA: The NAIA-ADA is comprised of athletics administrators from the nearly 250 institutions representing 21 conferences competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The purpose of the NAIA-ADA is to engage our Athletics Directors with meaningful collaboration, forums and national recognition; empower our Athletics Directors in their professional development and leadership roles in the NAIA; and promote NAIA Athletics Directors' collective voice on issues affecting membership and college athletics on a national scale. For more information about the NAIA-ADA, please visit www.naiaada.com. The NAIA-ADA is administered by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is in its 53rd year. For more information on NACDA and the 17 professional associations that fall under its umbrella, please visit www.nacda.com.