Brenda Winkeler returned to work with Saluki Athletics after she was reassigned from her old job as head volleyball coach.
Athletic director Mario Moccia said Winkeler’s new role is to help senior associate Athletic Director Kathy Jones with special projects.
“Typically, when situations like (Winkeler’s reassignment) occur, you find other duties that the coach will be able to perform that would overall help the athletic program,” Moccia said. “Kathy is in the process of putting together some long-term projects that you could work on that we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to get around to because of being short-staffed.”
Winkeler was reassigned within Saluki Athletics on Dec. 2 after two consecutive seasons of finishing in last place in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Jones said they put Winkeler to work right away researching a couple issues with athletics. One issue that Jones said needed revision was how to address female athletes who get pregnant. She said the current section in the student-athlete handbook is too brief on the subject.
“Different schools have lots of different policies on that particular topic,” Jones said. “The first thing that I asked her to do was to research what other schools were doing to see if our policies go far enough.”
The only thing listed currently in the SIUC student-athlete handbook about pregnant athletes is that the policy will be consistent with NCAA guidelines, that female athletes will be granted an extra year of eligibility, and that they’re encouraged to tell someone they’re pregnant.
Another issue was that SIUC’s policy on weight management for athletes has gone unrevised since Jones came to Saluki Athletics in 2000.
“We’re trying to make sure proper nutritional guidance is given to them, and that we’re not putting them in a situation where they feel like their only option is to lose weight in a dangerous way,” Jones said.
Winkeler’s contract was on a continuing basis instead of a term contract, and executive associative Athletic Director Mark Scally said the reassignment was consistent with university policy in regards to administrative professionals.
“Just like any staff member here, the possibility of reassignment exists for everybody,” Scally said. “Short of some gross misconduct … or egregious activity, typically employees are not just let go.”
Scally said Winkeler’s contract is different from other coaches such as basketball coach Chris Lowery or football coach Dale Lennon, which are term contracts that have a definite end.
“She’s treated like any other employee on campus,” Scally said. “I expect that if she was terminated immediately, there would have to be some due process things that would have to be followed by both sides.”
Winkeler said she had no comment about the reassignment.
Justin Ingram officially became the new head coach for the
women’s volleyball team Wednesday. The term contracts of assistant head coaches Tammi Fries and Peter Chang expire at the end of January and Ingram said he doesn’t know yet if he will bring them back.