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Transition ahead for Director of Intercollegiate Athletics

Football players running across a field
Author: 
Joe Tischler, Athletics
Publication date: 
August 17, 2018

Jason Herbers will wrap up a successful stint as University of Minnesota Morris director of intercollegiate athletics in August. Herbers has accepted a new appointment in higher education in Wisconsin. Matt Johnson '03, associate athletic director and associate head football coach at Morris, will serve as interim director of intercollegiate athletics for 2018-19.

"We send Jason off with gratitude for his transformational work supporting Morris student-athletes and our sports programs," says Sandy Olson-Loy, UMN Morris vice chancellor for student affairs. "We are very fortunate to have Matt Johnson and Paul Grove as experienced associate athletic directors who are ready to step into new roles this year to continue the positive trajectory we are seeing in Cougar athletics."

Jason Herbers

For Herbers, this is an opportunity to return to his home state. A Madison, Wisconsin native, he earned a bachelor's degree in sports management from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse before earning his master's from Eastern Washington University. Herbers interned with the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and worked with promotions and marketing for the Milwaukee Bucks and University of Wisconsin-Madison Badgers athletics. Prior to Morris, Herbers served as associate athletics director in charge of development and operations at Dixie State University (St. George, Utah) from 2010-15 and in athletics leadership roles at Eastern Washington and Utah State University.

Herbers came to Morris in July 2015. He made enhancing the Cougar student-athlete experience a core priority during his tenure. In addition to supporting students' experiences within their sports, Herbers established an all student-athlete opening meeting at the start of each school year and a year-end senior banquet to honor graduating student-athletes. He emphasized renewing alumni relations with the Cougar Athletic Association, launched in-collaboration with Alumni Relations, and increased local support for athletics with new community partnerships. Herbers worked closely with his athletic director counterparts and with conference staff in advancing the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) and its strategic plan.

"I have really enjoyed my time at Morris and I look forward to the next chapter of my life," said Herbers. "There is great support for Cougar athletics within the program and from the campus community. The Cougars have established themselves as contenders in the UMAC and I look forward to seeing the programs continue to rise, obtaining conference championships and competing regionally and nationally in the NCAA Division III."

Matt Johnson ’03

Matt Johnson will serve as interim director of intercollegiate athletics for 2018-19. He has nearly 20 years of experience on the Morris campus as a student, instructor in Sports Studies and Athletics, and coach. He was a four-year starter and two-year captain for the Cougar football program, starting all 44 games he played on the offensive line. He earned his bachelor's degree in social science with a minor in history and coaching certification from Morris. He holds a master's in education from UMN Duluth with a focus on educational administration.

Johnson is entering his 15th season as a coach for the Cougar football program. He served as a co-head coach with Marty Hoffmann '05 in 2017 and spent the majority of his tenure as offensive line coach while assisting with offensive game-planning and scouting. He also serves as the coordinator for the sport studies and athletics discipline at Morris.

"I am incredibly honored to be named interim director of intercollegiate athletics at UMN Morris," said Johnson. "I am excited to work with an outstanding group of student-athletes, coaches, faculty, and staff. As a proud alum and long-time coach, I can speak to the value of athletics in UMN Morris's liberal arts mission. A special thank you to former Directors of Intercollegiate Athletics Jason Herbers and Mark Fohl for their leadership and mentoring in my career; both have helped build UMN Morris's athletic programs. I look forward to continuing to advance Cougar athletics."

Head Men's Basketball Coach and Associate Athletic Director Paul Grove will oversee gameday management for the Cougars, serving as interim senior associate athletic director. Coming off the Cougar men's basketball program's ninth straight UMAC Tournament appearance, Grove begins his 17th season at the helm of the program this season.

Herbers' last day at UMN Morris is Friday, August 24.

About Cougar Athletics

The Cougars compete in the NCAA Division III with 19 sports for men and women. UMN Morris student-athletes portrayed excellence in competition and in the classroom during the 2017-18 season. The Cougars earned 59 UMAC All-Conference mentions across all sports. In the classroom, 99 Cougar athletes earned UMAC Academic All-Conference recognition by earning grade-point averages of 3.5 or better during their semester of competition.