It’s been a busy few months off of the competitive field for the South Dakota School of Mines athletics department. It will continue that way for the next couple of weeks before several programs assemble officially for the start of the fall seasons.

In July alone, the School of Mines named a new head women’s basketball coach in Ryan Larsen; it was accepted as a full member of NCAA Division II and athletic director Dick Kaiser announced his resignation, effective Wednesday, in order to take a different position at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Mines officially advertised the opening last Tuesday and will go through the normal process of selecting a new athletic director in the next few weeks. According to the Mines communications department, a search committee has been formed and applications will begin to be reviewed on Aug. 6, with the hope that candidates will be on campus by the middle of the month for interviews.

New Mines president Heather Wilson said they are looking forward to reviewing the new candidates for the position.

“We expect a lot of interest in the position and we will look for the best qualified candidate for the job,” said Wilson, who was named the school's president this spring.

Kaiser, who became Mines athletic director in 2009, was instrumental in the last four years of the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, as well as finding conferences for the football and men’s soccer programs (Great Northwest Athletic Conference, starting 2013 for soccer, 2014 for football).

Up next for the new athletic director will be finding conferences for men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, track and field and golf.

“The athletic brand of the NCAA is known worldwide, and with Division II status, we’ll be able to attract academically – and athletically – qualified students for the university,” Wilson said during the NCAA Division II announcement.

The official change in divisions goes into effect on Sept. 1.

The fall seasons begin in a little over a month. The Mines football team opens the season on Sept. 7 at Colorado School of Mines, while the Lady Hardrocker volleyball squad opens on Sept. 6-7 at the University of Nebraska-Kearney tournament.

The Mines men’s soccer team has a couple of exhibitions in late August before opening the regular season on Sept. 6 against Johnson & Wales.

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