That’s how Julie Kline, Earlham College’s new Senior Director of Athletics, described herself during the interview process, and her resume bears that out.
As a coach, Kline built Division III softball and women’s basketball programs at the University of La Verne (Calif.) into perennial conference and NCAA post-season powerhouses. As the athletics director for nine years, she built La Verne athletics into one of the top Division III athletics programs in the nation, as recognized in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings, maintaining high academic standards as the department grew to more than 500 student-athletes.
That background as a successful coach in two sports, and a depth of accomplishment in facilities planning and management, revenue generation and development, strategic planning, and personnel management and expansion, led to the announcement by former Earlham President Alan Price appointing Kline to be the Quakers’ new Senior Director of Athletics on May 21, 2018.
“Those who met Julie during the interview process were impressed with her vision and passion for the role athletics can play as part of the overall student experience,” said Price at the time of Price's hiring. “She has dedicated her working life to Division III and is very enthusiastic about helping Earlham to strengthen its athletics programs in the context of an excellent undergraduate institution informed by Quaker perspectives.
Price added, “I welcome Julie to the Earlham community, and look forward to her guidance of our wonderful athletics staff and our nearly 300 student-athletes who proudly wear the Maroon and White of the Earlham Quakers.”
"I would like to thank the search committee, the Earlham community, and especially President Alan Price for this incredible opportunity,” said Kline. “It is truly an honor to be selected to lead the Quaker athletic program that has tremendous support from the entire Earlham community.
“Together we will continue to build on the momentum of the department and to sustain the Earlham expectation of excellence, within the academic, athletic and leadership arenas, that will serve our student-athletes well into the future in making profound and positive differences in the world,” added Kline.
Kline served as La Verne’s athletics director from 2008 to 2017, leading Leopard athletics during a period of unprecedented growth and success. Under her guidance, La Verne saw a 34 percent growth in athletics participation, while Leopard teams captured 11 Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championships, competing against such venerable academic institutions as Cal Tech, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Occidental College, Pomona-Pitzer, and fellow Quaker institution Whittier College.
More than 50 Leopard student-athletes claimed All-America honors during Kline’s tenure at the helm of La Verne athletics, with three student-athletes earning individual national championships in track and field and one individual national champion in men’s golf.
Administratively, Kline led La Verne athletics through nearly $20 million of facilities construction and improvements, and she spearheaded a corporate sponsorship program that generated nearly $1 million of additional revenue. She secured a single vendor contract for La Verne athletics that improved departmental procurement of apparel, equipment, and goods; and helped resurrect an annual benefit golf tournament that generated between $60,000 and $80,000 annually for the university. Kline served as La Verne’s assistant athletics director and senior woman administrator from 1995 to 2008, prior to assuming the athletics director responsibilities. She was also a faculty member at La Verne, teaching in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences and earning tenure in 2009.
Kline’s achievements at La Verne have led to her moving into leadership roles at a national level. She is currently the chair of the NCAA Division III Membership Committee, and she serves on the NCAA Division III Convention Planning Committee and the NCAA Division III Sportsmanship & Game Day Environment Working Group. She served on numerous institutional and SCIAC committees during her time at La Verne, including the university’s Presidential Search Committee in 2010-11.
Kline originally joined the La Verne athletics staff in 1992 as the head women’s basketball and softball coach, and she developed powerhouse programs in both sports. Under her tutelage, Leopard softball won four SCIAC championships, including three straight from 2000 to 2002. She guided La Verne to NCAA regional tournament berths on three occasions, including an NCAA Division III Softball Championship College World Series appearance in 1993.
Leopard softball posted a 277-160-1 record over her 11 seasons as head coach, and when she stepped away from the program following the 2003 season, she ranked 37th among active Division III softball coaches in total victories and 42nd in winning percentage (.634). Seven of her players earned All-America honors, six were SCIAC players of the year, and 66 received All-SCIAC honors.
As La Verne’s head women’s basketball coach (1992-2009), Kline led the Leopards to SCIAC titles in 2003 and 2007, winning the conference’s post-season tournament in 2008. La Verne made four NCAA appearances with Kline as head coach, and 34 Leopard student-athletes earned All-SCIAC accolades with three SCIAC players of the year and two All-Americans.
Kline began her coaching career at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges, where she was the head coach for women’s volleyball (1988-91) and softball (1989-91), after being hired as an assistant women’s basketball coach (1987-90). She started the CMS softball program that took to the diamond for the first time in 1990, capturing its first SCIAC title the following season in 1991 with a 16-4 conference record. Kline spent the 1991-92 season as head girls’ basketball coach at Wilson High School in Los Angeles, Calif., leading the team to a 22-3 mark and a Sierra League championship, prior to moving to La Verne.
A native of Hacienda Heights, Calif., Kline is a 1987 graduate of Whittier College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science. She earned her Master of Science in sports management from the United States Sports Academy.
She will begin her new duties at Earlham on July 23, 2018.
Kline will be charged with leading an Earlham athletics program that is in the midst of an energetic resurgence with an exciting future.
Quaker athletics recently completed a 2017-18 academic year that culminated with the men’s and women’s athletics programs each posting their highest finish in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) All-Sports Trophy standings. Earlham student-athletes have won an unprecedented 62 All-Conference awards in the HCAC and the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference during 2017-18, with six Quaker student-athletes combining to earn seven HCAC Freshman of the Year awards. Three Quaker student-athletes have earned All-Region honors to date, including three-time First Team All-Region selection Megan Hut in field hockey.
A total of 45 senior student-athletes received their degrees at Earlham’s 171st Commencement on May 5, 2018, with six student-athletes earning induction into Phi Beta Kappa.