Southwestern College President Elizabeth Frombgen has announced a change in leadership at the head of the athletics department in Winfield.
According to a news release from SC Wednesday morning, current Moundbuilder Men’s Basketball Coach Matt O’Brien has been selected as the interim director of athletics and will continue his coaching duties.
Additionally, Lock Schnelle, the college’s head athletic trainer, has been named interim associate director of athletics. The two will offer leadership and oversight to the athletic department as a committee representing the campus community works to fill the role permanently, the college says.
“I am grateful to the many contributions that Jamie Adams made at Southwestern in her time as the director of athletics; we wish her all the best in her next endeavors,” Frombgen stated. “We are fortunate to have the leadership of Coach OB and Lock in this time of transition.
“I also want to thank the entire athletics staff, who does incredible work throughout the year to grow and elevate their programs and our college — but I am particularly grateful for all the heart they put into mentoring and caring for our student-athletes.”
O’Brien has managed a career win-loss record of 298-143 (.676) in his 14 seasons as the Builder men’s basketball head coach. His teams have won a Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference regular-season title, along with two KCAC Tournament championships. Southwestern men’s basketball has made NAIA National Tournament appearances in five of his seasons at the helm.
Southwestern men’s basketball has also posted a team GPA of 3.0 or higher in 10 of O’Brien’s 14 years leading the program.
Additionally, O’Brien has been focused on growing his players as servant leaders through involvement in the community, the news release said.
The 2021 team was selected as the KCAC Champion of Character for all men’s teams in the conference. The men’s basketball team participates in several community service projects throughout the year, including packaging meals and participating in a reading program with children at local elementary schools. They also use their games to promote important philanthropic causes.
“I’m excited and humbled for the opportunity to lead the department of athletics at Southwestern,” O’Brien said. “I would like to thank President Frombgen and the athletic staff for entrusting me with the responsibility to guide the department through this time of transition. I am excited to partner with Lock to advance the work of Southwestern. Go BUILDERS!”
Schnelle took over the Head Athletic Trainer position at Southwestern in the spring of 2016 and has continuously grown the Athletic Training Facility and Sports Medicine program with increasing student-athlete numbers year after year, the college said.
“Additionally, Schnelle does a large amount of work for the college behind the scenes as the student insurance coordinator,” the news release stated. “He has been named Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Athletic Trainer of the Year twice, in 2019 and in 2022. He also served on the college’s COVID 19 Action Team and led a comprehensive testing and quarantine response on campus.
“The KCAC recognition highlighted Schnelle’s longevity, work ethic, and willingness to be involved with the conference improvement initiatives. In his first full year as Head Athletic Trainer, Schnelle was recognized at the college with the campus Fassnacht Outstanding Administrator/Staff award”
Schnelle has served at Southwestern College and in the KCAC for 14 years, according to the college.