Lindenwood University Belleville Director of Athletics Scott Spinner announced Tuesday that he will resign that position in order to focus entirely on his duties as head coach of the men’s basketball program.
According to a release from the university, the LU-B administration determined with input from Spinner that it wanted an athletic director dedicated solely to the role. Spinner was given his pick of the two jobs.
"The athletics department has simply become too large for its leader to carry dual roles,” Spinner said. “The choice between positions was a difficult one to make, but ultimately my wife and young girls wanted me to choose what makes me happy. Knowing I had their support made the decision much easier."
Spinner took on the dual roles in 2009 when he was hired by then-university president Dr. Jerry Bladdick. At the time, he was just 24 years old and LU-B had just 56 students and a men’s soccer team.
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"I don't know what Lindenwood saw in that young man, but I like to think it paid off,” he said. “I was hired and given the directive to grow the campus through athletic programs."
It was Spinner who brought national notoriety to the Belleville campus with a remodeling of the former Township Stadium that included a maroon and gray turf football field with alternating colors every five yards. Yahoo Sports said the striped field looked like a “flattened-out barbershop pole.”
“It remains one of the most distinctive fields in the nation,” the Yahoo article read. “And a punch in the gut remains one of the most distinctive forms of greeting.”
But the national attention the field drew helped Spinner build an athletic department of 35 intercollegiate teams in just six years. And, with all those new athletes, student enrollment at the Belleville campus swelled to more than 1,300.
More than 75 percent of the total enrollment is made up of student-athletes, even today.
“I think there is a significant connection between the growth of campus and the football field,” he said. “Enrollment doubled in the first semester after the football field went in because of the notoriety it brought the university. Still, we’ll walk through an airport and people will see our logo and say ‘hey, you’re the ones with that crazy football field.’”
The Lynx were granted membership to NAIA Division I in 2012. Prior to that Spinner oversaw five USCAA National Championships during his tenure.
The men's golf team won the first National Championship in 2011, followed by men's soccer. Softball was won the first female National Champion in the spring of 2013 and repeated in 2014. Baseball also won a national championship in the spring of 2014.
As the head men's basketball coach, Spinner has accumulated a record of 109-67. This includes four straight winning seasons, three trips to the USCAA National Championships, and one trip to the NAIA National Tournament. Spinner has coached nine All-Americans and two 1,000 point scorers.
"I have no regrets," stated Spinner. "Starting this athletics department has truly been one of the great pleasures of my life. I'm certainly proud of the new buildings, the football stadium, and the various athletic facility renovations, but I'm most proud of the educational opportunities, the jobs, and the student-athlete experiences that were created for people. When I think about that, I always smile."
A search for the new AD will take place in the very near future. President Dr. Barger will be the head of the search committee.