Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:17 pm
Lakeland College in Sheboygan announced the addition of Pro Football Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow to its athletic department.
Winslow, who played tight end for the San Diego Chargers from 1979 to 1987, will serve as vice president of athletics and wellness and director of athletics.
“I’m very happy that he wants to join me in changing people’s lives through education,” said Lakeland College president Michael Grandillo.
Grandillo, who was hired this past spring and began his term as the college’s 15th president in July, has been a friend and colleague to Winslow for the past four years. The two met while Grandillo was working at Tiffin University in Ohio as vice president for development and public affairs.
Grandillo said when the athletic and wellness position opened up, Winslow was his first choice. In addition to his time playing professional football, Winslow has experience in higher education athletics. He has been Central State University’s athletic director for the last four years.
“Kellen and I share the same vision for this institution’s athletic program and where we’re going to take the program,” Grandillo said.
“Our shared vision and our relationship centers around (the question) how can we use athletics to create student success across the athletic and academic continuum?” he said.
Both believe athletics and academics go hand in hand.
“We think they are equal and the things you learn on an athletic field or court gives valuable life lessons for students,” Grandillo said.
With Winslow’s appointment, Grandillo hopes the college is able to graduate 100 percent of its athletes in the coming school years. While the college has been successful with keeping most of its athletes on track for graduation, Grandillo said a 100 percent graduation rate would distinguish Lakeland College from other schools.
Grandillo also hopes Winslow can help attract more student athletes.
Besides overseeing Lakeland’s athletic program, Winslow will implement a wellness program across campus, emphasizing health and positive lifestyle choices for all students.
While Winslow’s background on the professional football field and in collegiate athletics will certainly help his transition into Lakeland’s athletic and wellness programs, Grandillo brought him on because of his ability to lead and his concern for education – particularly for first-generation college students.
“The real reason I brought him here is he’s committed to every one of these young people in ensuring that they have a successful athletic experience and a successful academic experience,” Grandillo said. “If that happens, we’re going to be competitive in the league and in the region.”
According to Grandillo, Winslow has already ignited a new energy on campus since the announcement of his appointment reached students, faculty, staff and community members.
“People have a new jump in their step because it’s just a validation of what Lakeland is and an excitement of what it could be,” he said.