HAMMOND, Ind., & WESTVILLE, Ind. – Purdue University Northwest has announced the hiring of longtime St. Xavier University administrator Rob Huizenga to lead Pride Athletics’ sports information, marketing, and event management efforts.
Huizenga brings nearly 15 years of experience from his position with the Cougars of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference, where he served as the Associate Athletics Director for Sports Information since 2003. He replaces Nicole Watkins, who departed for the University of Chicago after three years at PNW.
“I am delighted to add Rob Huizenga to the Purdue Northwest athletics family,” PNW Director of Athletics Rick Costello said. “His amazing success, experience, and incredible work ethic will significantly impact the Pride as we transition to NCAA Division II.”
Huizenga helped the Saint Xavier Athletics Department secure a large amount of media exposure around the Chicago area as well as regionally and nationally. In December 2009, SXU Athletics was featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune Sunday sports section with a two-page article highlighting the tradition of success the department had built as a whole. His efforts have also helped numerous student-athletes garner national awards and recognition, including four CoSIDA Academic All-America® Team Member of the Year awards, the Fred Mitchell Award, a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete National Finalist and multiple NAIA National Player of the Year awards to name a few.
On September 15, 2014, Huizenga earned the inaugural NAIA Sports Information Director of the Year for his work during the 2013-14 school year. He was also named the 2013-14 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Sports Information Director of the Year in June of that same year. Huizenga was part of the Saint Xavier University Relations team that won a Golden Trumpet Award in May 2010 in the “Video News Releases and Films” category for its work with the 2009 SXU Cougars football team. The Golden Trumpet Awards is the premier awards competition for Chicago’s public relations and communications professionals. In addition, Huizenga has had multiple publications cited by the NAIA with “Best in the Nation” awards, including the 2005 and 2006 versions of the combined basketball media guide as well as the 2012 and 2013 versions of the football media guide.
I am thrilled to start another chapter of my career at Purdue Northwest,” Huizenga said.
“All of the staff, coaches and student-athletes I met there during my interview were amazing! I know I have big shoes to fill after all of the great things that Nicole Watkins contributed the last three years, but I’m up for the challenge, especially with the program competing now at the NCAA Division II level. I can’t wait to get started in August and help the Pride get the attention it deserves.”
Huizenga will officially begin his role at PNW on August 8.
Purdue Northwest, an NCAA Division II provisional member, will begin play in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) this fall. The Pride men’s soccer team kicks off the 2017-18 athletic year with nonconference match at Lewis (Ill.) Aug. 31.