Alumna named Cal Lutheran athletic director
Roepke held leadership roles at Pomona-Pitzer, Grinnell
(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Jan. 20, 2022) Alumna Holly Roepke has been named director of athletics at California Lutheran University.
A former soccer standout and member of the Alumni Association Athletic Hall of Fame, the Thousand Oaks resident had returned to her alma mater in July as senior associate director of athletics after serving in leadership roles at other colleges. She began serving as interim director of athletics at Cal Lutheran in October.
“What a thrill it is to see our very own Hall of Famer come full circle to lead athletics,” said Matthew Ward, vice president for enrollment management and student success. “Holly is an inspirational leader with a wealth of experience in Division III athletics. Moreover, she brings a champion mindset and will push us to elevate the student-athlete experience.”
As director, Roepke supports the development of more than 500 student-athletes and oversees the university’s 22 varsity and six junior varsity teams, more than 75 coaches and additional staff. She also will help with fundraising initiatives and continue to serve on the university’s Core Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Team that launched in August.
Before joining Cal Lutheran’s staff, Roepke served as the senior associate athletic director at Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont and assistant athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion at Grinnell College in Iowa. At Grinnell, she was involved in systems and policy evaluations and development for professionals through all areas. Her work also reached across campus in the areas of student wellness and academic success. Prior to her time at Grinnell, Roepke was director of media relations for the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC), of which Cal Lutheran is a member.
As a student, Roepke dominated women’s soccer from 1995 through 1998. More than two decades later, the two-time All-American holds the record for the third-highest number of assists. She was an All-SCIAC First Team honoree for four years, SCIAC Player of the Year in 1998 and Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame female College Athlete of the Year in 1999.
The death of her faculty mentor and her struggle to find her place academically while working several jobs to support herself led Roepke to leave Cal Lutheran with a semester to go. She later returned in the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program, juggling classes with her responsibilities as a single mom while working full time as a coach and physical education teacher. She earned a degree in organizational leadership in 2014 and was chosen to speak at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony. She went on to earn a master’s degree in kinesiology and sport management from the University of South Dakota.
“I have had a nonlinear pathway through my professional career, gaining valuable experience to return home and lead Cal Lutheran athletics,” Roepke said. “I am excited to champion success and belonging and to support athletes and department professionals who all share a love of purple and have hearts of gold.”