Kalamazoo coach takes job at Willamette

More news about: Kalamazoo | Willamette
Rob Passage was 87-167 in 10 seasons coaching men's basketball at Kalamazoo.

Willamette has hired Rob Passage as athletic facilities and operations manager, athletic director David Rigsby announced today. Passage, who has been the assistant director of athletics for facilities and events, as well as head men's basketball coach and assistant professor of physical education, at Kalamazoo since 2002, will begin his duties on Aug. 1.

"I am excited to welcome Rob and his family to Salem," Rigsby said. "His experience at Kalamazoo and the University of Chicago (1999-02) have prepared him for this important position.  I look forward to his many positive contributions to the operation of the athletic department at Willamette."

Passage will arrive at Willamette after working at Kalamazoo for all but three years since 1993. He was hired as an assistant men's basketball coach at Kalamazoo in 1993 and remained with the Hornets through the 1998-99 season.

In 1999, he moved to Chicago as an assistant men's basketball coach and assistant event manager for the Maroons. He returned to Kalamazoo to take on his current set of job titles in 2002. He led the Kalamazoo men's basketball team to an 18-7 record in 2002-03 for the Hornets' best record since 1993-94. During his time as the head coach, he guided four players to First Team All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors a total of five times.

In addition to his regular duties at Kalamazoo, Passage also was the site manager for the national NCAA Division III Tennis Championships in 1992, 1993, 1995, 2000 and 2005. He also served as a tournament assistant with the Michigan High School Athletic Association state tennis finals from 2002 through 2012.

"I am excited about the opportunity to join the Willamette community," Passage said. "Throughout the entire interview process I was impressed by the energy and passion for Willamette University shared by everyone I met."

Prior to working at Kalamazoo, Passage was a player for the Hornets for four seasons from 1989-93. He started 100 of 102 games in his career, as he helped the Hornets achieved a 69-33 (.676) overall record.

Passage graduated from Kalamazoo with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1993. He earned a master's in athletic administration from Western Michigan in 1998.

"I am a product of NCAA Division III, having played four years of basketball at Kalamazoo College and then working in a variety of roles at both Kalamazoo and the University of Chicago," Passage said. "I wanted to be at a school that not only emphasizes success in sport, but also having a well-rounded series of experiences.

"At Willamette, I see a wide range of possibilities available not only for students, but also for myself and my family. We are excited to soon call Willamette home," Passage added.

"With more than 18 years of experience in Division III athletics, Rob will be a great addition to Bearcat athletics," Rigsby said. "He is a gifted administrator and his long coaching career will help him work well with our student-athletes and coaches."