Willamette Announces Administrative Changes in Athletics

Passage, Smith and Scharer are Promoted; Borden is Hired as Assistant Athletic Trainer

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

SALEM, ORE. -- David Rigsby, Willamette University's director of athletics, has announced several administrative changes taking effect this month in the Athletics Department. Three of the changes involve promoting employees within Athletics, while the fourth change adds a familiar face to the Athletics staff.

Rob Passage has been promoted to assistant athletic director after serving as the facilities and operations manager for the past year. He will continue to manage Willamette's athletic facilities and operations under his new title.

Passage worked at Kalamazoo College (Mich.) for all but three years between 1993 and 2012. He was hired as an assistant men's basketball coach at Kalamazoo in 1993 and remained with the Hornets through the 1998-99 season.

In 1999, he moved to the University of Chicago as an assistant men's basketball coach and assistant event manager. He returned to Kalamazoo to become head men's basketball coach and facility coordinator in 2002.

He led the Kalamazoo men's basketball team to an 18-7 record in 2002-03 for the Hornets' best record since 1993-94. During his time as the head coach, he guided four players to First Team All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (All-MIAA) honors a total of five times.

In addition to his duties at Kalamazoo College, Passage also was the site manager for the national NCAA Division III Tennis Championships in 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2005. He also served as a tournament assistant with the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) State Tennis Finals from 2002 through 2012.

Passage and his wife, Laura, have two sons, Owen and Brady.

Ken Smith

Ken Smith, ATC, who has been an assistant athletic trainer at Willamette University since August of 2007, has been promoted to the position of head athletic trainer for the Bearcats.

In addition to his time on the Willamette Athletics staff, Smith also worked with the Bearcats in 2006-07 while serving as an employee of PT Northwest.

He has significant experience in athletic training and sports medicine. During his career, he has helped rehabilitate many athletes following injuries and/or surgery.

Smith graduated magna cum laude from Southern Oregon University in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in Physical Education. He was the Outstanding Male Graduate in Physical Education that year. He received a master's degree in Exercise and Sports Sciences with an Athletic Training Concentration from the University of Arizona in 1985.

He was an assistant athletic trainer at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., in 1985-86 and was an assistant athletic trainer at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces from 1986-89. He returned to Oregon in 1989 as the head football athletic trainer and an assistant athletic trainer at the University of Oregon.

In 1998, he became an assistant athletic trainer with the Seattle Seahawks and worked with them until May of 2005. While with the Seahawks, he also managed the workman’s compensation claims for all employees. After working with Dynasplint Systems, Inc., in La Jolla, Calif., for one year, he joined PT Northwest.

Smith and his wife, Karla, live in Keizer and have two children. Their son, Kaarsten, is 14 years old and their daughter, Kallan, is 11 years old.

Erin Scharer

Erin Scharer, MS ATC, who has been an athletic trainer at Willamette since 2004, has been promoted to athletic trainer and coordinator of sports medicine operations. She will oversee many of the administrative duties in the athletic training office.

Scharer will coordinate the professional and student athletic trainer staffing at all of Willamette's practices and contests. She will arrange the weekly on-campus medical clinics staffed by Silverton Hospital. She also will set-up WU's on-campus physical therapy clinics with PT Northwest.

In college, Scharer attended Willamette, where she obtained a bachelor's degree with a major in Exercise Science. After finishing her undergraduate degree, she went to Oregon State University to earn a master's degree in Human Performance.

Following completion of her master's degree, Scharer worked as an athletic trainer at Concordia University for one year. She then returned to Willamette as a full-time athletic trainer in the Sports Medicine/Athletic Training office.

Her husband, Kevin, also works in Salem as a teacher at Leslie Middle School. The Scharers have three sons. Their sons are Noah, age 6, Cody, age 4, and Logan, 1 year old.

Dylan Borden

Dylan Borden, ATC, an athletic trainer with PT Northwest since August of 2008, has been hired as an assistant athletic trainer at Willamette University. Borden began his new duties on Aug. 12.

Although Borden is new on the Willamette Athletics staff, he is already known by the coaches and student-athletes. As an employee of PT Northwest, he was assigned to provide athletic training support at Willamette during the past five years.

Borden earned a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science with a concentration in Athletic Training from Oregon State University in 2001. He went on to achieve a master's degree in Health and Human Performance with a concentration on Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2003. He is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist.

At Oregon State, he was a student athletic trainer for the Beavers from 1999-01. He worked with several teams and provided athletic training support at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

While working on his master's degree, he served as the head athletic trainer at Lafayette High School in Lafayette, Ga., in 2001-02 and was a graduate assistant athletic trainer at McCallie School in Chattanooga.

He was an athletic trainer with Front Range Orthopaedics in Colorado Springs, Colo., from 2003 through 2004. He returned to Oregon in August of 2004 as the head athletic trainer at Sports Care PT and Barlow High School in Troutdale.

Borden lives in Salem with his wife, Connie. They have two daughters, Paige, age 6, and Sydney, age 4.

Rob Passage has been promoted to assistant athletic director.

Rob Passage has been promoted to assistant athletic director.