Ripon College names Chris Schumacher new athletic director

Ripon College announces that Christopher Schumacher has been selected as its next athletic director. He will assume his duties June 1. Steve Wammer, associate director of athletics and head softball coach, will serve as the interim athletic director. Current athletic director Ryan Kane has been named athletic director for Carthage College, a role he assumes April 1.

Schumacher has 30 years of experience in administrative work and coaching at private, liberal arts, Division III institutions. He currently serves as the assistant athletic director for diversity, equity and inclusion and the director of track and field operations at Illinois Wesleyan University. He also is a professor in the kinesiology department.

Schumacher says he is looking forward to stepping into a more focused administrative role at Ripon College. He plans to address strategic planning, mentoring, alumni relations and recruiting in an ever-changing and challenging environment to keep the athletic department moving forward.

“Athletics should be an extension of the College,” he says. “It should not be its own entity. We want our College and our teams to have a welcoming environment. I’m looking forward to taking my experience to help mentor young, energetic coaches. I am particularly excited to have a broader impact across the entire campus, both in and out of athletics, as a visible leader whose life philosophy of faith, equity, service and compassion can help lead and grow Ripon College.

“This role expands my impact to provide leadership in developing strategies that advance the department’s and College’s goals of diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as create, develop and implement leadership programs that enhance the experience of student-athletes.”
Prior to Illinois Wesleyan, he was the head men’s cross country and assistant track and field coach at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota.

Schumacher was born in Appleton, Wisconsin, and grew up in Wausau, Wisconsin. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in physical education with a biomechanics emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

He also earned the Cornell University Diversity Equity and Inclusion Certificate in 2022 and was named the Ben and Susan Rhodes Endowed Professor of Peace and Social Justice at Illinois Wesleyan in 2022.

A member of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Athletic Wall of Fame, Schumacher earned All-American status in track and field and competed on three national championship teams. He was also a first team all-conference football selection.

Before his arrival at Illinois Wesleyan, the track and field teams had produced 19 All-Americans. The program now has 291 All-American honors and four NCAA titles. The department has had 25 NCAA top-four finishes across all sports, with 10 under Schumacher’s direction. Schumacher and his staff were named the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin Staff of the Year in 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2023.

U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) named Schumacher Division III National “Coach of the Year” in 2008, 2010 and 2016. He also has been named Midwest Region Coach of the Year by USTFCCCA in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

“I’m excited to welcome Chris to Ripon College and witness the impact he will have on the campus community, including creating lifelong relationships through authentic modeling and impactful mentorship with our student-athletes and coaching staff,” says Dr. Victoria N. Folse, Ripon College president.

Schumacher is married to Amy, a fourth-grade teacher. Their daughter, Kienna, is a 2016 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan who earned her degree in accounting. Their son, Keondre, is a senior world religion major at Illinois Wesleyan.

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