After five very successful years UNK Athletic Director Dr. Paul Plinske is leaving the Lopers to become the new Director of Athletics at CSU Pueblo. In his time at Kearney, Plinske saw a number of different changes to UNK’s athletic department. He helped lead the Lopers through its early years as a member of the MIAA conference. Plinske hired six new head coaches and promoted Kevin Lofton to head men’s basketball coach after the retirement of legendary coach Dr. Tom Kropp.
Since 2012 (the first year in the MIAA), UNK has earned six Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association conference regular-season titles and nine conference tournament titles. It has celebrated seven national championships in wrestling and 10 different teams were nationally ranked at least once.
UNK ranks among the highest in the conference and nationally in fan attendance, and has received more than $10 million in private gifts, including more than $3 million for student-athlete scholarships.
Plinske also was instrumental in facilities upgrades at the school, including the new field turf for Ron and Carol Cope Stadium, new seats and lighting at the UNK Health & Sports Center and the Lopers push to be fully funded for football scholarships in the highly competitive MIAA. Plinske will be replacing Joe Folda who is stepping down at CSU Pueblo at the end of this academic year. At CSU, Plinske signed a four-year contract with an annual salary of $135,000, which ranks third highest in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. He will lead a Department of Athletics that serves more than 500 student athletes and 22 athletic teams, including a $7.7 million budget.
Plinske’s last day at UNK will be May 19th. UNK expects to name and interim Athletic Director in the near future and will conduct a nationwide search for Plinske’s replacement. KRVN’s Brandon Benitz spoke today ( Tuesday) with Chancellor Doug Kristensen about this week’s big news. Click here