June 25, 2007

Ehling to lead Recreational Sports and Services

by Christi Mathis


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. – William P. Ehling is set to become Southern Illinois University Carbondale's next director of Recreational Sports and Services.

Larry H. Dietz, vice chancellor for student affairs, said Ehling will begin work July 9. The appointment will require ratification by the SIU Board of Trustees at its July 12 meeting.

Ehling, of Orlando, Fla., is director of Recreation and Wellness at the University of Central Florida.

"Mr. Ehling has solid experience in the field of recreational and intramural sports and a sound academic background in that area," Dietz said. "He was clearly the leading choice. What attracted us to him is his background, experience and skill level. He has ample experience and has been working at the director level. Although it is something of a lateral move, I think our program is much more nationally recognized. He really did a fine job in the public presentation he made about the future of recreation. It demonstrated he knows about promoting our facilities, programs and staff and all they have to offer.

"He also recognized that this is one of the few facilities that has recreation, counseling and student health centers all in one complex area," Dietz added. "He's anxious to work with the other directors to offer integrated services. He' s really excited to be coming here and we're pleased to have him on board."

Lori Lynn Stettler, Student Center director, chaired the screening committee. She said Ehling "brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our campus that will assist us in providing quality programs, services and facilities to the University community. His ability to relate to a diverse audience of students, faculty and staff will assist him in working collaboratively across campus."

Ehling said SIUC is well known for its student development programs and services, and for creative and cutting-edge problem solving.

"The reputation of SIUC Student Affairs and specifically the Recreational Sports and Services facilities and programs, are well known and respected among the National Intramural and Recreational Sports Association network," Ehling said.

He also said he is cognizant of the high standards set by his predecessor, William McMinn, who retired last December after serving as director for the last 13 of his 26 years at the Student Recreation Center, as well as those who preceded McMinn.

" I am inheriting a very qualified, dedicated and productive staff at Recreational Sports and Services, Ehling said.

The philosophy Ehling and his staff will implement, he said, is "Dream Big-Work Hard-Good Things Will Happen."

Ehling's experience in the field of recreation is extensive. The University of Central Florida experienced significant storm damage in 2004 to its Recreation and Wellness Center and under Ehling's guidance, major repairs, renovations and expansions have been ongoing. In the position since 2004, Ehling has led a department with 30 full-time and 300 student staff members and an annual budget exceeding $3 million.

Ehling earned his bachelor's degree in 1979 in recreation and his master's in physical education in 1983 from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. His previous employment experience includes a stint as director of Campus Recreation and Intramurals at Georgia Southern University at Statesboro, Ga., from 1989-2003, and serving as assistant director of Campus Recreation and Intramural Program at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., from 1986 to 1989. Ehling was also intramural sports program director for the Department of Intramural-Recreation at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C., from 1984 to 1986 and athletic director for Watauga County Parks and Recreation in Boone, N.C., from 1983 to 1984.

Ehling's wife Jill, formerly the assistant dean of graduate studies at the University of North Carolina and most recently the assistant director of the Lead Scholars Program at the University of Central Florida, will pursue her doctorate in educational administration at SIUC. The Ehlings are parents of Eric Cooksey of Athens, Ga., and Kari McGee of Savannah, Ga. The move to Southern Illinois will also include Rosey the teacup poodle, Sassy the Maltese and 14-year-old cat Bob, Ehling said with a chuckle.

More than 35 candidates sought to become the new Recreational Sports and Services director and Dietz expressed appreciation to Stettler and her screening committee for its good work in providing a strong pool of applicants. He also praised interim director Sally Wright for her leadership since McMinn's retirement. Wright will resume her position as assistant director.