Endings and beginnings

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Below is the public announcement that we are losing our athletics director who had been with us during three extremely challenging years of change in the university and in our athletics program. As you read this announcement, you can pause to thank God that he had prepared and brought to us a particular person who could lead us through huge changes of programs, people, policies, and plans, concluding with the submission of our final documents for seeking full membership in the NCAA Division II. Their final decision should come by July 17; we are hopeful of a positive result. We appreciate your prayers about this important action, and your prayers as we immediately must seek God’s person to replace Leslie as our athletics director.

Three years of preparation have ended, and the decision by NCAA will shape our future in Christ-centered high level intercollegiate athletic competition long into the future. God prepared Leslie Schuemann and brought her to lead FPU through three strenuous years of our preparation to attempt to qualify to compete at this level. Leslie’s three years at FPU have been a time of preparation for her next career role as a follower of Jesus. For her and for FPU this is an ending and a beginning. With God everything is preparation for what He has next for us, especially the tough stuff.

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Fresno Pacific University director of athletics Leslie Schuemann has announced she will be stepping down from her post to accept a position as the associate commissioner of the Heartland Conference, an NCAA Division II conference based in her home state of Texas.

“I am proud of the things we were able to accomplish during my tenure at FPU,” said Schuemann. “We have developed an outstanding administrative team and a core of coaches that understand and embrace the commitment that is required to be successful at FPU and at the NCAA Division II level. The opportunity to serve our student-athletes and to watch them grow and excel spiritually, in the classroom, in the community and in the competitive arena has been a blessing to me. I have every reason to believe that the Department of Athletics will continue to be successful with the foundation that has been laid.”

Schuemann joined the FPU staff in July 2012 as the senior associate athletics director and was named director of athletics in January 2014. Her time at FPU was marked by student-athlete success on the field of competition, in the classroom and in the community.

“I’d like to thank Leslie for everything she has done to make our university a better place,” said FPU President Richard Kriegbaum. “We are forever indebted to Leslie for the way she helped prepare this entire university for NCAA membership. We’re thankful for her deep commitment to providing a positive experience for our student-athletes. Her passion for student-athlete success, both on and off the field of competition, was clearly evident at all times. She hired great additions to our coaching and administrative staff while operating with the highest integrity in NCAA compliance. We wish her all the best in this next chapter of her journey.”

During her time at FPU, Schuemann helped prepare the university for NCAA membership, implementing several improved structures and efficient systems while collaborating with others on campus to build the infrastructure needed to operate at the NCAA level.

Since her arrival, Schuemann has been deeply committed to the development of FPU student-athletes, not just athletically, but personally, spiritually, academically and as leaders in the community. Under her watch the Sunbirds captured their first PacWest championships (men’s soccer and men’s track & field), took home back-to-back NCCAA World Series championships in baseball and also earned awards in the areas of academics, community service and sportsmanship.

Her heart for serving the Valley and the Fresno community led to a huge surge in community service by FPU student-athletes, resulting in back-to-back PacWest Community Engagement Awards, given annually by the NCAA’s largest West Region conference to the school that best serves its community during the academic year. FPU student-athletes surpassed 3,000 hours of local community service in each of the past two years.

Schuemann personally facilitated a partnership with Team IMPACT, an organization that works to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses. Through this partnership the FPU baseball team added 11-year-old lymphoma patient Emilio Gomez to its roster as a member of the team this past season, providing mentorship and support.

Her commitment to student-athlete success also led to increased academic initiatives, including new strategies and partnerships to help better prepare FPU student-athletes for life after college. During her two years as director of athletics, more than 40 percent of FPU student-athletes earned all-academic honors from the Pacific West Conference.

During her tenure she made quality head coach hires in three sports: track & field, women’s soccer and men’s basketball, as well as numerous staff hires in the areas of compliance, academics, event operations, athletics communications, sports medicine and external relations.

Prior to FPU, Schuemann spent five years at the NCAA’s national office as the assistant director of academic and membership affairs. Prior to that she spent eight years at Texas A&M Kingsville, five years as the assistant athletic director for compliance and the previous three as an academic advisor.

FPU is a provisional member of the NCAA Division II and is in the final year of the membership process. The university will be notified of its NCAA membership status in mid-July.

A national search for a new director of athletics will commence immediately.