Hillsdale alumna Lindsay Peirce ’16 has returned to the college to take on the newly created role of Director of Recreational Sports and Student-Athlete Wellness.
As a student, Peirce played tennis from 2012 – 2015. She holds the record for most singles won in a career with 42, cementing her status as one of the most successful athletes in recent history for Chargers’ tennis.
After graduating from Hillsdale, Peirce completed a three-year master’s program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, earning her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology in July.
Hillsdale administration initially wanted to hire Peirce to replace Brad Kocher as Director of Recreational Sports, but the role evolved as soon as staff considered her credentials and saw an increased need for mental health services on campus.
“When she was first looked at as a candidate, several departments saw it as an opportunity for her to be in the athletic department and fulfill some of the needs that are there with Brad Kocher leaving and what not,” said Director of Health and Wellness Brock Lutz. “But it was also an opportunity to expand the scope of that position beyond recreational sports and to have a person who could focus on athlete wellness and mental health wellness.”
As Director of Recreational Sports, Peirce will supervise and direct the college’s recreational sports and intramural leagues. She will also oversee the campus’s club sports.
In her role as Director of Student-Athlete Wellness, Peirce will offer counseling services in the Health and Wellness Center, as well as be a resource for student athletes in the athletic department. She plans to begin mental health initiatives with student athletes, as well as provide mental health information to coaches and staff.
As a former Charger, Peirce said she would have benefited from her role if it had existed when she was an athlete.
“I sought out services from the health center while I was here,” Peirce said. “But having someone like me sitting in this office or one of these offices — I definitely would’ve utilized that as just another extra positive support and place to go. And while it’s obviously super important to grow the relationships between the athletes and coaches, it’s sometimes also important and necessary to have somebody outside of the team to go to about teammate struggles and issues with coaches. So, just having somebody kind of one-step removed from that can be really helpful.”
Peirce’s office is located in the sports complex where she will be available to students who seek her services.
“There’s no limit as to how this position can benefit our students,” Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations and Event Management Brad Monastiere said in an email. “The issue of mental health and wellness looms large in greater society as well as within our small campus, and the responsible thing for our department to do is to have qualified, caring people in place to let our students know there’s a place they can go to seek that crucial support they need.”
According to Lutz, Peirce will easily relate to student athletes given her history of playing for the tennis team.
“Nikki Walbright, the head women’s tennis coach, was able to look at her and say this girl was a team captain, she’s a leader — people respect her. You want that in a person too because I think to work with athletes they’ve got to be able to respect you and know that you’ve been in their world some,” Lutz said. “So to me, I think that’s what stuck out. And you meet her, and she’s someone who’s personable and connects with people which the importance of that can’t be underestimated.”
Peirce plans to build and maintain relationships with students and athletes in her first year as
Director of Recreational Sports and Student-Athlete Wellness.
“I think my background of being a student athlete here will give a lot to creating those connections with the students and student athletes,” Peirce said. “Just supporting and reminding them that we are here to help, and encouraging and reminding them that it is ok and a strength to ask for help and to seek out support.”