As soon as Mel Tjeerdsma announced his retirement from Bearcat Athletics, Northwest Missouri State officials had a hole to fill.
It turns out the right fit wasn’t too far away. For now, a familiar face will take helm of the position.
The University announced Andy Peterson as the interim director of athletics April 4.
Peterson has been affiliated with the department for much of the last 15 years.
"I'm excited for this opportunity," Peterson said per press release. "Bearcat athletics has been a special place to me for a long time, and to have this responsibility and opportunity to lead this unbelievably strong group is a dream come true.”
Whether it be as an athlete, graduate assistant, assistant coach, head coach or assistant director of athletics, Peterson has experienced the Bearcat culture from the ground up.
He most recently held the position of head women’s golf coach and assistant athletic director of facilities.
One year earlier he witnessed Northwest men’s basketball’s run to a national championship as an assistant coach under Ben McCollum.
"Andy's strategic outlook, keen intellect, business acumen and people management skills are combinations to help continue accentuating the strengths of our athletics department and focus on the student-athlete experience," Northwest President John Jasinski said per press release.
Peterson arrived to Northwest in 2003 as a member of the men’s basketball team. He helped Northwest claim the 2006-07 regular season MIAA Championship. He also helped the team to the 2008 conference tournament title.
Upon graduation from Northwest in 2008, Peterson served two seasons as a graduate assistant. The first was under former coach Steve Tappmeyer. The second was under McCollum.
Peterson’s lone year away from Northwest came as he ventured to Southwestern Community College in Creston Iowa. He served as Southwestern’s head men’s golf coach and assistant men’s basketball coach during the 2010-11 season.
He returned to Northwest as the assistant men’s basketball coach one year later.
Peterson is in his fifth year as assistant athletics director for facilities, where he oversees day-to-day operations and scheduling for all Bearcat athletics venues. He also assists with home contest operations and management
"His experiences in operations and as a player and coach also provide an important context as we look to the future of continuing our strong focus on student-athlete success and in competing within the MIAA at the DII level,” Jasinksi said.
He joined the women’s golf program as coach following Pat McLaughlin’s retirement in 2014.
Peterson will begin fulfilling his new responsibilities following Tjeerdsma’s retirement April 30.
“I am confident in our team to lead our department and do what's best for our student-athletes, our coaches and our University,” Peterson said.