BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – Indiana University Kokomo finally has an athletic director. On June 4, the university announced Brandon R. Podgorski would serve as the school’s first permanent athletic director. He will pull double duty as the fitness center director at the new Milt and Jean Cole Family Wellness and Fitness Center on the Kokomo campus. The role of athletic director has previously been filled as an addition duty for current IUK administrators.
Podgorski arrives on the Kokomo campus from Darton State College in Albany, Geo. While at Darton, he was an assistant women’s basketball coach and the schools fitness center director. He also served as the school’s interim women’s basketball coach during a transition period in 2011. Last year, with Podgorski serving as an assistant coach, Darton advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament for the first time since 2001.
Podgorski is no stranger to Indiana, and is in fact a Hoosier native. He is a 1998 graduate of Pike High School in Indianapolis and earned his bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in sports marketing and management in 2003 from Indiana University. He also earned a master’s degree in recreation and sports science, with an emphasis in coaching education, at Ohio University. He previous owned Cardinal Fitness in Bloomington and was an assistant basketball coach at Wabash College before moving to Georgia. He also coached one season of boys basketball at Albany’s Deerfield-Windsor School.
IU Kokomo recently completed its first season of play under the National Association of Interscholastic Athletics banner, so Podgorski will have his hands full with a growing Cougar program. Kokomo fields teams in men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball and men’s basketball. They also will start a women’s basketball program this fall and will move into a new sports gymnasium – located in the old Memorial Gymnasium swimming pool – with the start of the volleyball season.
According to IUK, the creation of the $4 million Cole Wellness and Fitness Center that Podgorski will oversee is to provide opportunities to expand allied health programs, such as sports medicine and athletic training. It will also provide year-round training space for our new club sports teams, which are generating interest and enthusiasm among students and community members alike. But they said most importantly, this center will help all of our students maintain good physical and mental health, which will not only support their academic success as students, but also build healthy habits for a lifetime.
The center is located in previously unused space under the IU Kokomo Library. Now nearly complete, the 25,000 square foot facility will be the primary cardiovascular training area or IUK athletics, as well as a facility for all IUK students and faculty. The fitness center will include a jogging and walking track, a cardio and strength training area, two multi-purpose rooms, a health studies classroom, locker room and a reception area.