Northwestern College names vice president for athletics

Northwestern College has announced the hiring of Tony Hoops, who has been athletic director at Bethel College in Kansas for six years, as vice president for athletics. He will start his new position in August. 

Tony Hoops

“I am thrilled that God has called Tony Hoops to join us at Northwestern College to lead our athletic programs to new levels of athletic and academic excellence,” says Greg Christy, president. “First and foremost, Tony is a devout follower of Jesus and a terrific fit with the Christian vision, mission and values of Northwestern. He is drawn to our athletic mission of ‘honoring Christ through excellence in athletics.’ Tony has a great understanding of what it takes to not only lead a strong college athletic department but also serve as an institutional leader, having served on the president’s cabinet at Bethel as well.” 

Hoops, named the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) Athletic Director of the Year for 2020–21, has led the transformation of Bethel College athletics from a struggling department to one that now has programs winning conference championships and competing at the national level. Bethel teams earned a 3.09 cumulative GPA in 2022 (highest in the last 10 years), and the college has been named an NAIA Champions of Character Gold Standard institution the last five years. He has increased private fundraising departmental gifts by 650%, helped raised over $6 million for facility updates, generated over $400,000 annually for the athletic department, and increased booster club membership by 500%.

“Northwestern is a unique place with unbelievably caring Christian people,” says Hoops. “It was going to take a dream position to pull myself and our family away from my alma mater at Bethel College. We found that at Northwestern. The commitment to Christian education, leadership exemplified by President Christy and his cabinet, experienced coaching staff, great facilities, tremendous support for Raider athletics, and the beautiful community of Orange City all made this a position our family could not pass up.”

Hoops says he is eager to get to know Northwestern’s coaches, staff, donors, alumni and students. “My goals will include collaborating with Northwestern’s amazingly talented people to build Red Raider athletics to be the nation’s model small-college Christian athletic department and a consistent top-10 athletic department within the NAIA, to compete for championships at the GPAC and national level, and to continue to enhance and grow the Red Raider Athletics Association.”

Before his current role, Hoops was head men’s basketball coach at Bethel College from 2014 to 2018 and spent eight years as a teacher and coach in two Kansas middle and high schools. He earned a master’s degree in school leadership from Baker University and a bachelor’s in health management and physical education at Bethel.

Hoops replaces Dr. Micah Parker, who served Northwestern for three years before returning to his previous position at NCAA Division I California Baptist University.

Northwestern College’s athletic department fields teams in 23 sports and competes in the NAIA as a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Red Raider teams have won 10 national championships, including the 2022 football title.