Athletic director takes job in Virginia

Brooks said this move may be good, but it is tough.

“I would never have ever thought of being anywhere else but Berry,” Brooks said. “It’s been one of the best professional decisions I’ve ever made in my life. My family loves it here, and it was a difficult situation for them to think about leaving.”

Brooks has been highly influential during his time at Berry. He led the expansion of the athletic program from 10 teams to 21 teams, which has led to the number of Berry athletes to grow from about 140 to over 330. He also supervised Berry’s transition from NAIA membership to NCAA Division III. Brooks also served on the committee that assisted in the design of the Cage Center, as well as help with the planning of Valhalla Stadium. Finally, he guided the conversion of Richards Gym into a training facility and the renovation of practice fields at the Ford Athletic Complex, complete with a new indoor batting facility.

Though he has had a large impact on the institution, Brooks said he cannot take all the credit.

“Not one individual does all that’s been cited there,” Brooks said. “It’s been the administration, it’s been great coaches, it’s been the student athletes who have worked with us to do it. “

Brooks said he also credits his success to the opportunities afforded him.

“My impact has been the ability and being fortunate to have the opportunity to help with all these different projects, from increasing athletic teams, to moving us to another national association, which has benefited the institution, to seeing the infrastructure and the facilities increase,” Brooks said. “It’s not so much of my impact, it’s been my opportunity to be a part of that and be given the responsibility to make sure they stay on track.”

Brooks has earned many awards, several of which were given to him while he was at Berry. According to the Office of Public Relations he was named TranSouth Conference eastern division basketball coach of the year in 1998-99 and the 1995 Georgia Athletic Conference men’s basketball coach of the year and the 1995 Whack Hyder Georgia NCAA Division III/NAIA Male Coach of the Year. He has been honored as his conference’s top Athletics Director three times, earning Georgia Athletic Conference Athletic Director of the Year honors in 1995-96 and the Southern States Athletic Conference Athletics Director of the Year in 2004-05 and again in 2008-09.

Heida said the search for Brooks’ replacement will start next week, with a job ad being posted on Monday.

Brooks said he has one piece of advice for next person “fortunate enough to take this job.”

“Treat Berry College well, because it’s a special place, there’s a lot of good people here,” Brooks said. “If you treat it well, it’ll treat you back well.”

Brooks said it was the best time for him to move if he was ever going to move.

“I’m at a point in my life—at an age where I probably have one more place where I can go and really establish myself and help them grow if I can before I look to retire,” Brooks said. “I needed a new challenge, and I’m looking forward to those days as well.”

Though he was moving on for professional reasons, Brooks said that did not make the move easy.

“You don’t stay somewhere 16 years if you don’t enjoy it or you don’t think that’s where you’re going to be for the rest of your life,” Brooks said.  “I could’ve retired from Berry College and that’s not something that’s hard for me to fathom. But Christopher Newport University is a different type of institution, and it’s going to challenge me in ways that I’ve never been challenged here before because of the nature of the institutions.”

Though Brooks will officially make the move to CNU in June, he wanted to thank everyone who has influenced his time at Berry.

“I just want to thank everybody, from the students, to the faculty and staff to the coaches specifically [that] I work with every day,” Brooks said. “I’ve enjoyed it. I will think of Berry many, many times. I’m not going to go away, I’m going to stay in touch with everybody.”

Brooks continued by saying he is making a very difficult decision by leaving.

“I just want everyone to know how much I appreciate them” Brooks said. “I leave here with a heavy heart. I’m looking forward to the challenges, but I just want everyone to know that I work with here that I’ve appreciated it and I really cared for every one of them and I’m a better person for knowing them.”

Video by: Alex Lowe and Rachel Blair, Viking Fusion Reporters

Leave a Reply