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Former student turned recreation coordinator

October 4, 2007

For most students, the typical pattern is: take finals, graduate, leave campus and find a job. But for Kurran Sagan, recreation coordinator, all of that happened without ever really leaving campus.

After graduating from UW-River Falls in May of 2005 with a degree in Health and Human Performance, options one and two, Sagan applied and even had a part-time teaching job lined up. Then he received a call from UWRF, informing him that a full-time position for recreation coordinator was in need of an emergency hire. Although the call was unexpected, Sagan said, he decided to take the position fairly quickly.

“It was surprising to get the call, but it didn’t take me long,” Sagan said. “Besides being full-time, I was familiar with the department from my time as a student, so I said ‘definitely.’”

Because the position of recreation coordinator involves overlooking intramurals, club sports, BodyShop, and KinniConnections, the first couple months were “definitely a whirlwind,” and much of his experience came from learning on the job.

Now, his long list of duties includes everything from reserving fields and scheduling events to training officials, ordering equipment and promoting events.

“From A to Z, I do it,” Sagan said. “I’ve had to become very detail-oriented.”

It also helped that he worked for the recreation department as a student and had experience with the program and all of the staff, Sagan said. In fact, previous recreation coordinator Tim Ryerson was the person responsible for forwarding Sagan’s name as a candidate.

“It really helps to be familiar with the people before you,” Sagan said.

Because the program was already very developed, it hasn’t needed many major changes since Sagan began. Instead, much of the focus has been on making small adjustments here and there to “smooth out the process,” such as streamlining the intramurals program, updating the Web site and giving attention to training staff, Sagan said.

It has been a continuing goal of Sagan’s to add more short-term opportunities for students to get involved as well. Routinely checking out other school’s Web sites helps to keep a flow of ideas into the program.

“We really leave no stone unturned,” Sagan said.

Although the improvements may be small, they don’t go unnoticed by students, Web site manager Charlie Sowa said. Much of this can be attributed to how Sagan manages his staff.

“He gives us quite a bit of free rein to do what we need to do and trusts [the staff] to get it done,” Sowa said. “And it shows from the people outside of intramurals who’ve said they’ve seen improvements from the time they were freshmen to the time they were seniors.”

Apart from balancing his time between all four areas of recreation on campus, Sagan works as assistant basketball coach, where he started as a student manager five years ago. Involved in basketball in high school, Sagan made the decision not to play in college but still “felt the itch to be involved” and has been very happy with his decision.

“It’s definitely a passion of mine,” Sagan said.

Outside of school, Sagan said he finds time for golf, coaching, attending as many Twins games as he can and…more school. Working on his Master’s degree at the University of Minnesota, he’ll graduate in May, and although “the teaching boat has passed,” athletic administration may be in his future, Sagan said.

For Sagan, this job seems to fit perfectly for right now.

“I’m really happy with it,” Sagan said. “I love being out and watching intramurals…seeing students really participate.”