July 27, 2012

Former HU AD Dan O'Brien Named To Concordia Hall Of Fame

Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien, who served as athletic director at Hamline for nearly six years, has been named to the Concordia (St. Paul) Athletic Hall Of Fame. The Winthrop, Minn. native has worked at Concordia seven years prior to coming to Hamline. He is currently Director of Football Operations at University Of Minnesota.

O'Brien is being honored by the St. Paul school for his dual service to the school. After joining the staff as an assistant to a then NAIA program, he became the head coach and served as the AD when the school made the transition in 1999 to its current Division II status. He coached football for one more season before turning fulltime to the AD duties. There, he made several successful hires, including Geoff Carlston, who turned the CSP volleyball fortunes around before moving on to a Division I career. The Golden Bears have won the last five NCAA D-II volleyball titles.

Another successful hire was women's basketball coach Paul Fessler. Current HU head women's basketball coach Kerri Stockwell was an assistant to Fessler prior to joining the Piper staff.

During his tenure at Hamline, the athletic program made great strides with the number of student-athletes competing in the postseason rising from one to 121. 23 HU teams made appearances in MIAC and/or national postseason competitions in the final five years of his time here. The Pipers also claimed two MIAC championships (men's hockey and men's cross country). The men’s cross country program also claimed a NCAA Central Region title.

“My five and a half years at Hamline have been wonderful and in many ways it was incredibly difficult to leave,” O’Brien said when he joined the U of M staff.

One of O'Brien's moves at Hamline was to add assistant athletic director's duties to the plate of baseball coach Jason Verdugo. "I'll always be grateful to Dan for that. He gave me a great opportunity," said Verdugo, who became the HU athletic director last May 1. " He deserves a lot of credit for committing the time to improve our athletic programs. "I'm proud to follow in this tradition."