Reinhardt University’s Bill Popp was awarded the NAIA Athletic Director of the Year award for the second time in his career on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
Last year, Popp was recognized as the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Athletic Director of the Year for the fourth time. This time, he brings home another national award for the Reinhardt program.
“This has been a tremendous year for Reinhardt Athletics,” Popp said. “Our teams have experienced the challenges of a pandemic, and the staff and coaches have provided the best possible experience we can for our student-athletes.”
Popp is the third athletic director in NAIA history to earn the award multiple times. He is the first in the AAC.
“I truly appreciate each and every member of our team here at Reinhardt and the amount of work that goes into the daily operations of this athletic department,” Popp said.
Reinhardt athletics has been flush with success over the last few years. The Eagles also received the AAC Duard Walker All-Sports Trophy, an honor dedicated to the school with the most successful all-around sports program.
“What an honor for us to receive the prestigious AAC Duard Walker Trophy for the second time,” he said. “Then, to be individually recognized amongst such an amazing peer group is truly humbling.”
In total, the Eagles have 162 AAC All-Academic student-athlete selections, along with 79 All-Conference players and 14 national championship appearances. They possess 11 regular-season or conference championships, eight AAC Players of the Year and three AAC Coach of the Year winners.
Men’s lacrosse was a big part of that success, finishing 17-0 for the first time following a 17-8 win over Indiana Tech in the NAIA Men’s Lacrosse National Invitational Final.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has tested athletic programs across the country, Popp has managed to keep Reinhardt at peak performance.
“I am delighted but not surprised at Bill Popp’s selection as the NAIA Athletics Director of the Year,” AAC Commissioner John Sullivan said. “Bill continues to be a leader and pace-setter in the AAC and at the national level, but this past year has really tested his strength of character, leadership, and frankly, endurance.”