LEWISTON - Lewis-Clark State College Athletic Director Brooke Henze has been named the Frontier Conference’s Athletic Director of the Year for the 2019-20 academic year by a vote of the conference’s seven athletic directors, FC officials announced Tuesday.
Henze led a strong year for LC athletics until it was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the cancellation of all spring sports as well as the national championships for the winter sports.
In the fall, the LC State men’s cross country team finished third at nationals, its highest finish in program history, while a young women’s team placed 18th. The women’s volleyball went 20-11 and was ranked in the NAIA Top 25 near the end of the season. In the winter, the LC men’s basketball team won the Frontier Conference regular season and tournament titles. The Warriors were ranked No. 6 in the country at 29-3 when the NAIA cancelled the national tournament. The Warrior women were ranked No. 22 nationally and finished second in the conference tournament. They finished the season 21-10 overall. The LC indoor track teams had four individuals place sixth or better at the NAIA national meet to earn All-American honors.
In the classroom, the Warriors were just as successful. During the 2019 fall semester, LC State had 117 student-athletes received a 3.0 or better grade point average, including 21 who posted a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“Any award that I receive is a direct reflection of the coaches, staff and students-athletes at LC State,” Henze said. “I am beyond humbled and grateful to have been nominated by the AD’s in the Frontier Conference, and that says a lot about their character. “
The award is the third in a year for Henze. Last summer she was named the Women Leaders in College Sports Administrator of the Year for the NAIA and community college level. In March, she was honored by the college during its third annual Women’s Leadership Awards. In 2017, she won the Robert Ish Smith Award from the NAIA Baseball Coaches Executive Committee for "unselfish promotion of NAIA baseball." In 2019, she won the Rising Star Young Alumna Award from the LCSC Alumni Association.
“Ms. Brooke Henze is a quality person, athletic professional and educator,” LC State President Cynthia Pemberton said. “She works hard, works smart and delivers results. She is compassionate and passionate about intercollegiate sport and the positive difference it can and does make in the lives of student-athletes. Brooke is highly deserving of this recognition and award, and a wonderful ambassador for and leader of our LC State athletic department, coaches and student-athletes.”
The athletic department also has received numerous honors under Henze’s leadership. Last fall, the NAIA honored LC State with the Champions of Character Five-Star Silver Award for its commitment to the NAIA Champions of Character program. The college also has been honored twice as the NAIA’s best Championship Host for its work with the Avista NAIA World Series. Despite the Series being cancelled this year, Henze worked out a contract extension with the NAIA that guarantees the tournament will remain in Lewiston through 2024.
Henze became athletic director at the college on July 1, 2017, and has worked at the college for 15 years. Prior to becoming athletic director, Henze served as associate athletic director for seven years and assistant athletic director for three years.
The 2019-20 academic year was LC State’s final season in the Frontier Conference. The Warriors have joined the Cascade Conference and are scheduled to begin conference competition this fall.
Henze also was instrumental in helping to launch the Student-Athlete Advisory Council in 2017.
Henze also has served as the director for the Avista NAIA World Series since 2011. She plays an instrumental role in fundraising, operations, and event management at the college. She also has served as director of the Warrior Athletic Association, the college's athletic booster club, since 2009.
A former student-athlete, Henze played basketball at LC State from 1997-2001 and helped the team qualify for the NAIA National Tournament all four years. During her senior year, the Warriors advanced to the final four, which at the time was the best finish in program history. She graduated from the college in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in communications.