The athletic director signed on to play for the Augustana Vikings football team for the 2023-2024 academic year, leaving students surprised and worried.
“It was quite a shock when they came to my office a few weeks ago,” the head coach said. “Although our record was 7-4 this past season, they pleaded his case that he should play on the field to help improve the team.”
They have worked as director of athletics since 2018 and has been an integral part in expanding the athletics department.
“I wanted to join the athletes because I’m getting bored twiddling my thumbs while the Midco Arena is waiting to be finished,” they said. “Being able to compete again after all these years will be great to freshen up these old bones, and I’m looking forward to creating stronger bonds and seeing how we can improve this team.”
Although football’s regular season won’t start until this fall, spring practice has begun at the Kirkeby-Over Stadium. Alongside these practices on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the players also have weight lifting on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
“I don’t know what to think of them joining the team,” junior Jenny John said. “I saw the players helping him bench, like, 15 pounds at the gym the other day, but with dedication, he could be ready to be tackled on the field.”
As they physically prepare to come back to the football field, he is also getting ready mentally.
“Although the current practice has been a bit overwhelming, I can’t get stuck inside my own head,” they said. “I know that what I can bring to the field will bring Augustana back to its former glory. I hope to bring that integrity to the other athletes as well.”
They brought his own game strategies to coaches on how to outsmart other teams, especially University of Sioux Falls.
“I’m not going to lie, but the strategies he suggested were from the ‘70s,” Sipple said. “I’m not sure where he found the playbook, but I won’t be using them anytime soon.”
They have not failed to attend a practice or a weightlifting session since he signed to the Vikings. The Sioux Falls community can see him play for the football team’s first home game this fall.