By Jordan Beach
Bill Popp knew he wanted a career that allowed him to remain immersed in athletics. He found this career – including his nearly 20 years at Reinhardt – through the world of college sports.
During his own college career, Popp’s time as a student-athlete created a lasting impact, one that he hopes to impress upon student-athletes pursuing degrees today.
“My love of sports and my experiences playing college sports really led me to want to share those experiences and provide similar opportunities for those students pursuing their dreams of a college degree while participating in sports,” Popp said.
Popp began his time at Reinhardt in December 2004, taking his position on the cabinet as vice president for athletics and director of athletics in 2018. While NAIA policy dictates the university president be in control of the school’s athletic department, Popp serves as an appointed representative to communicate between Reinhardt University and the NAIA.
“I am responsible for the supervision of a large NAIA Athletic Department, 23 sports and all the personnel associated with the operation of the department,” said Popp of his position.
Not only does Popp represent Reinhardt’s athletes off campus, he also communicates internally, such as his relationship with academic leaders and faculty to create athletic stability and effective class scheduling, providing success on the field and in the classroom for Reinhardt Eagles.
“I work closely with enrollment management to help set enrollment goals and the scholarship budget for the Athletic Department. I work directly with the Business Office and the CFO to help produce the athletic operational budget. I also work in conjunction with the advancement department to identify fundraising opportunities for athletic teams, as well as the University. Lastly, the relationship between Athletics and Student Affairs is really important on campus and both sides have been very collaborative and supportive of each other.”
With nearly three decades of experience in higher education, Popp continues to learn the administrative side to athletics. His favorite aspect of the job, however, are the people: “being around like-minded people all pulling in the same direction to provide a great student experience; watching and mentoring students who really love what they do - getting to participate in sports while having an opportunity to get a quality education and prepare for life after the cleats, balls and sticks have been put away; celebrating success, academic or athletic, with students is pure joy.”
When he’s not focused on college sports, Popp can be found on a golf course or participating in anything competitive. He also finds traveling to the beach with his family to be high on the list of the best ways he can relax. Popp is an avid sports card collector, a hobby he also uses to unwind.