College notebook: Surprenant to officially take over as WIU athletic director

Western Illinois University athletic director Danielle Surprenant
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 24, 2019 3:10 am Updated: Apr. 24, 2019 3:19 am

Danielle Surprenant's patience and commitment paid off.

The former Quincy University associate athletic director who spent the past 11 months as the interim athletic director at Western Illinois University will lose the interim tag June 1 and be fully in charge of the Leathernecks' athletic program.

Surprenant will become just the second female athletic director in WIU history, joining Helen Smiley, who served in the role from 1994-2001.

The Carthage native was one of four finalists for the job who interviewed on campus from mid-March to early April. The others were Paul Bubb, WIU executive director of development; Michael Moore, director of athletic development at Southern Illinois University; and Stephen Robertello, special assistant to the vice president for student affairs at California State University.

"Danielle brings the solid background in collegiate athletics necessary to lead Leatherneck athletics," WIU president Jack Thomas said in a press release. "She has the experience necessary to continue the long tradition of excellence in WIU athletics."

Surprenant worked at Quincy University from 2010-17, overseeing compliance and internal operations while serving as senior woman administrator. She joined the staff at WIU in 2017 as senior associate athletic director for internal operations and became the interim AD in May 2018 when Matt Tanney left.

Surprenant, whose maiden name was Hibbard, was an all-area selection who helped the Carthage girls basketball team reach the Class A state quarterfinals her senior season in 2003. She was an all-region selection at John Wood Community College and played her final two seasons at Saint Francis (Pa.). She earned her master's degree from Indiana State University and began working in athletic administration in 2009 at Stony Brook (N.Y.) University.


Hawks promote St. John to tennis coach

Johann St. John is taking over as the head men's and women's tennis coach at Quincy University. Mark Schuering announced last week he was stepping down after two seasons at the helm, and QU athletic director Marty Bell immediately promoted St. John, who served as an assistant during the 2018-19 season.

St. John, who is from the Caribbean island of Grenada, also serves as the director of campus programs and residence life at Quincy.

Prior to coming to Quincy, St. John spent two seasons as the head tennis coach at Berea College, an NCAA Division III school in Berea, Ky.

"Above all, I am excited to work with the coaching staff, in order to develop and maximize the skills and talents of each player," St. John said.

Schuering will continue to work with St. John and the tennis program as a consultant.


Stroud receives GLVC weekly honor

After striking out a school-record 18 hitters in last Saturday's 4-0 victory against Bellarmine, Quincy University right-hander Nick Stroud was named the GLVC Pitcher of the Week.

Stroud limited the Knights to four hits, walked two and tossed the first nine-inning complete-game shutout of his career. This season, the graduate student is 6-2 with a 2.82 earned run average. He has struck 77 and walked 23 in 60 2/3 innings.


C-SC volleyballers earn academic honors

Four members of the Culver-Stockton College men's volleyball team were among 42 players nationwide to be named Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes.

The Wildcats receiving recognition were Brian Copley, a junior defensive specialist from Quincy; Omar Marin, a junior outside hitter from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Shaquille Barker, a junior outside hitter from Bridgetown, Barbados; and Tagir Rakhmatullin, a junior middle hitter from York Haven, Pa.

In order to be nominated, a student-athlete must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale and must have achieved a junior academic status. A transfer student must complete one full year at the institution prior to being nominated.


UIS hires Brock as basketball coach

After leading the Missouri Baptist men's basketball team to the best season in program history, Matt Brock's stock was on the rise. Illinois-Springfield invested heavily in it.

Brock was named the next UIS men's coach last week, replacing Bill Walker, who was let go in March after five seasons at the helm. Brock spent four seasons at Missouri Baptist, compiling an 87-40 record after the Spartans managed just seven victories in each of the two seasons prior to his arrival.

Last winter, the Spartans finished 28-5, won the American Midwest Conference regular-season title with a 19-3 record and qualified for the NAIA national tournament for the first time in 14 years. Missouri Baptist was ranked as high as No. 3 in the national poll.

"When I talked to people about the job opening at UIS, Matt Brock was the one name that kept coming up," UIS athletic director Jim Sarra said in a press release. "In order to win a championship in the GLVC, you have to have one of the top defenses in the league, and Matt has a proven track record in building great defenses."


William Jewell turns to high school coach

The William Jewell administration is giving a high school coach the opportunity to take over its men's basketball program and replace legendary Larry Holley, who retired after 40 seasons coaching the Cardinals.

Chris McCabe was announced as the next head coach last week and will begin officially next week. McCabe spent the last nine seasons as the head coach at Liberty (Mo.) North High School, where he helped start the program after the school district split into two high schools. He has a record of 158-94 and led the Eagles to a pair of Class 4 state final four appearances.