Willamette Announces Personnel Changes in Athletics

Kenitzer Retires as Associate AD, Larson Resigns as Men's Soccer Coach

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University has announced two personnel changes in the Athletics Department this semester. Dr. R. “Skip” Kenitzer has retired from his position as associate athletic director, and Nelson Larson has resigned from his position as head coach of the men’s soccer team.

Kenitzer worked at Willamette for a total of 18 years starting in 1993. He was WU’s head swimming coach from 1993 through 1998 and was a co-head coach of swimming from 1999 through 2001. He also taught as a professor in the Department of Exercise Science and published research in the areas of sport psychology and exercise physiology.

He began taking on administrative duties in 1998. Most recently, he served as associate athletic director, focusing his efforts primarily on maintaining, improving and scheduling events in the venues used by the Bearcats for athletic competition.

Kenitzer was very successful as a head coach. He was named NAIA Women’s National Coach of the Year in 1997. He guided the efforts of 29 All-America swimmers. His 1997 women’s swimming team, which placed third in the nation at the NAIA Swimming Championships, was inducted into the WU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

Kenitzer earned a degree in Education at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. He achieved a master’s degree in Education from the University of Northern Colorado and received a Doctor of Education degree, also from Northern Colorado.

While at Willamette, Kenitzer interacted with students in a variety of ways in addition to his coaching and administrative duties. He participated in the J-Board, Phi Delta Theta and WU Men Against Violence. His wife, Jan, is an accounting assistant at Willamette.

The campus will hold a retirement party for Kenitzer on Thursday, March 31 at 3 p.m. (PDT) in the Willson Room of Goudy Commons.

Larson coached the Bearcat soccer team from 2006 through 2010. He created positive team chemistry for the squad and made significant strides in improving the team’s abilities on the field.

WU allowed more than 51 goals in the year before he took over the program, but reduced that total to 26 goals allowed this past season. The Bearcats held their opponents scoreless four times in 2010 with a 0-0 tie and three shutout wins.

Larson, who married his wife, Jennifer (Bellone) Larson, last summer, lives in the Portland area. He will now be able to devote additional time to his position as the Director of Youth Programs for the Portland City United Soccer Club. He also is active in soccer through the Oregon Olympic Development Program.

The campus will hold a retirement party for Dr. R. "Skip" Kenitzer on March 31 at 3 p.m. in the Willson Room of Goudy Commons.

The campus will hold a retirement party for Dr. R. "Skip" Kenitzer on March 31 at 3 p.m. in the Willson Room of Goudy Commons.

Nelson Larson

Nelson Larson