CHADRON – As the head softball coach and athletic director at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, Chadron State College alumnus Darin Monroe uses his Master of Science in Organizational Management Sports Management degree every day.
Since he arrived in Rockford in 2012, Monroe’s softball teams have a 314-62 record that includes six consecutive Illinois N4C Conference championships and five consecutive National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) national championships.
In his seven seasons, 31 players have been recognized as National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Academic All-Americans, and his teams have been recognized by the NFCA and NJCAA five years for their Academic Achievement of having a team GPA above 3.0.
But as the newly appointed athletic director at Rock Valley, Monroe’s responsibilities don’t end when he walks off of the field.
Fresh from earning his bachelor’s degree in 2009, Monroe was an assistant softball coach and worked in residence life at Southwestern Community College in Creston, Iowa.
Knowing he wanted to achieve his career goals of becoming a head coach and athletic director, Monroe researched online graduate programs and found CSC’s Sports Management degree – something he feels helped him learn about many aspects of not only athletics, but also being well rounded.
“I learned about human resources’ processes, different leadership styles, as well as rules and regulations,” said Monroe, a December 2017 graduate. “I feel like I am well prepared to handle different people of different backgrounds and know how to deal with situations that occur. My opportunity to study about different leadership styles allowed me to really decide what type of coach and leader I want to be.”
In addition to these offerings and the affordability CSC provides, Monroe’s classes also fit well with his work and family responsibilities.
“I feel the professors at CSC are willing to work with students of all different age levels and backgrounds. They want you to learn, but also understand that many people who take classes at CSC have full-time jobs and families as well,” Monroe said. “My professors went above and beyond to prepare me for my job and I will forever be grateful for them.”
Monroe said he enjoyed classes taught by Dr. Scott Ritzen, Health, Physical Education and Recreation professor, department chair and Monroe’s adviser.
“He allowed me to think outside the box to current issues relating to the world of sports,” Monroe said. “I felt the content I learned in his classes was relevant to the work that I have been doing.”
As someone who was once in their shoes, Monroe wants to share with others who are working and have families to continue to work toward the degree and stay committed.
“You have to remind yourself what your career goal is, and although it is tough at times to balance everything, in the end it was one of the most satisfying things I have accomplished in my career,” Monroe said.
—Kelsey R. Brummels, College Relations