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Concordia taps into a legacy in naming Rachel Bergeson athletic director

Rachel Bergeson was named athletic director at Concordia College during a press conference on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in Moorhead. Erin Bormett / The Forum

MOORHEAD—The interview process that ended with Rachel Bergeson being named the athletic director at Concordia on Wednesday afternoon has been going on for a while. Like almost 35 years.

She wasn't born at Memorial Auditorium on campus, but it wasn't long before the daughter of former Concordia head baseball coach Bucky Burgau and the granddaughter of Cobber legendary head basketball and assistant football coach Sonny Gulsvig was crawling around the gym floor. Bergeson had her interim athletic director label removed and will now lead a department she knows backwards and forwards.

"She's been around this place forever, she knows the traditions and she's the right person at this time to lead the program," said head football coach Terry Horan.

The path to the top job probably started when Bergeson was hired as the senior woman administrator and compliance officer in 2006. She became associate athletic director in 2011 and was the interim athletic director in 2016 after Rich Glas retired. She was the interim again this year after Jeff Bretherton resigned in April.

She's only 35 years old. But now was the time to take the next step, Bergeson said. Her father agreed, saying she's had enough experience and mentorship to move up. Bergeson was the deputy athletic director under Bretherton.

"I think you finally say the time is right, let's go get this," Burgau said. "I think also Rachel's family is growing up and they can be a part of this venture. I think before she felt she wasn't quite ready yet."

Bergeson and her husband, Bryant, have two boys, Tyden, 10, and Tate, 6.

"This place is a great place to raise a family, they can be here with me, run around the gym or be at the field," Bergeson said. "I'm thankful for that. Both are in school and that makes a difference."

She's been around the dugout and gyms a long time. Horan, a former Concordia football and baseball player, remembers his new boss as a bat girl for the Cobber baseball teams. Bergeson went on to play basketball for Concordia graduating with a degree in biology in 2005.

She was an assistant coach for the Cobber women's basketball team from 2007-11.

"She is very competitive," Horan said. "She was competitive as an athlete and she wants to win. And I'm excited to see where the next roads lead us with her leadership."

That leadership has already been in motion. Bergeson said the pair of interim roles have already laid down the expectations she has from her staff.

"They know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them," she said, "and I think it will be a smooth transition."

Jeff Kolpack

Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.

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