Athletics employee Zach Brake moonlights as professor

Mar 09, 2022
(From left to right) Joanna Pryor and Zach Brake

This story originally appeared in The Vantage student newspaper, Feb. 24, 2022.

By Madeline Schnieders, managing editor of The Vantage

Though having one job is hard enough, one Newman employee is now taking on two roles on campus. Zach Brake is Newman’s assistant athletic director for communication and is also teaching a sports communication class this semester.

On top of his assistant director duties, Brake is also teaching a class at Newman called Organization & Administration of Sport Exercise & Health.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to work closely with students,” he said. “The majority of the students in my class are student-athletes, so I’ve gotten to see a different side of them than just seeing them compete on the floor.”

Brake enrolled in Newman’s MBA in data analytics program while working in the athletics department as a graduate assistant last year and graduated in the spring of 2021.

The position for assistant athletic director for communication opened in August 2021, and Brake transitioned from graduate assistant to that role.

“That was something I was really excited for,” he said.

Newman Zach Brake, assistant athletic director for communications.

Responsibilities of the role

Brake said that the role of assistant athletic director for communication has “the length of the title and the length of the responsibilities.”

As assistant director, he is the direct media contact for all 19 of Newman University’s sports teams. Some of his other duties include updating live stats for games, writing recaps and preview articles, posting social media graphics, livestreaming home events and voting on the player of the week.

In August 2020, Brake was working in logistics in Columbus, Ohio. Having previously played college baseball for three years, he wanted to return to a job that was sports-related, he said.

“I realized there was a deeper passion in my life, which was to get back into athletics,” Brake said.

Finding a home at Newman

While looking on the NCAA website, he found a job posting for a graduate assistant position for the Newman athletics department and applied.

Shortly after, Associate Athletic Director Maureen Rohleder reached out to him and interviewed him via phone. Brake said just in that phone call he could tell Newman was the place for him.

“I kind of felt the family orientation here and just really wanted to join and be a part of that,” he said.

Brake was offered the position, and 10 days later he moved to Wichita and started his new role, he said.

“I didn’t really mind that I was leaving Columbus, Ohio, to come out here. It just kind of made sense,” he said. “I kind of jumped blindly into it. But once I got here, I think I made the right choice.”

Brake said he doesn’t believe he could be successful in managing two positions at Newman without the help from staff in the athletics department, especially Associate Athletic Director for External Operations Zane Ehling and graduate assistant Rylee Meloy.

“Without the help of those two, especially, I don’t think that I’d be sitting here today able to talk to you,” he said.

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