For Rin Seibert, Director of Recreational Sports and Assistant Director of Athletics, sports education and athletics have always been a part of her life. Now, she’s bringing that same passion to the Valparaiso community and the students of Valparaiso University.
Born and raised in Goshen Indiana, Seibert began her career in sports and coaching at a young age. Dance and gymnastics were always a part of her life and by the time she was 13, she was teaching dance to young children in her very own living room and eventually was able to rent out studios for her very popular class.
“I taught ballet, jazz, and tap, really all different kinds of dance,” Seibert said. “By the time I graduated high school, I had over a hundred students in my class.”
Seibert continued this passion for teaching while she was at Valparaiso University completing her bachelor’s degree.
“I’ve always loved teaching so while I was at Valpo, I continued all of that with my coursework,” she explained. “I was also on the gymnastics team, started judging gymnastics meets in college, and was a diver for the swim team.”
After graduating with a degree in Physical Education, Seibert went to work for the Valparaiso Family YMCA. There she served as the Assistant Director for two years.
“During that two year period, I helped build the competitive gymnastics program there,” she explained. “I was also involved with aquatics, the Red Cross, and women’s fitness during my time at the YMCA.”
From there Seibert attended Indiana University in Bloomington for her masters. At first, she decided to complete her master’s degree in dance, but her career took a slightly different path.
“I ended up getting a graduate assistantship in Recreational Sports,” she said. “It was everything I loved. I was doing a variety of different things and I knew that later in my life, I would not be able to do eight fitness classes a day and gymnastics. So it was a great fit.”
The graduate assistantship put Seibert on the right career path, but it led her in another direction as well.
“I met my husband at IU,” Seibert said. “There were two other graduate assistants: one I married and the other was our best man.”
The three worked together very closely at IU all year long at Rec Sports, but after completing their masters, both Seibert and her now-husband-but-then-friend, John, went their separate ways; John to Baylor and Seibert to Marquette.
“John went to work at Baylor University, and I went to Marquette where I worked in Recreational Sports for a year,” Seibert said. “But then at Christmas of 1979, we got engaged and luckily, John got a position with the YMCA in Valpo and then my position at the University opened up.”
John is now the Valpo Parks Foundation Executive Director.
When Seibert started at VU, she worked with the Women’s Intramurals League, but when the person in charge of men’s intramurals left, Seibert stepped up and became the head of both leagues.
“I’ve been the Director of Recreational Sports ever since,” Seibert said. “All 36 years I have been here in Valpo I have been at Valparaiso University.”
Not only is Seibert head of the Recreational Sports department, she is also Assistant Director of Athletics and a Professor of Kinesiology. Despite her success in Recreational Sports and athletics, her passion and love for teaching has not wavered since she was a 13-year-old girl teaching dance lessons in her living room.
“I still love the teaching portion and teaching teachers how to teach, especially with the state that education is in today,” she explained. “It’s so important to train these new teachers, getting them out there, and not give up on education.”
Along with her success in Recreational Sports and Physical Education, Seibert also has made a name for herself as a gymnastics official. She began her career as an official in her sophomore year of college and has continued ever since.
“I judge high school gymnastics meets for the IHSAA,” Seibert said. “I sometimes judge some of the non-sanctioned events for little kids, because I love to see the little kids, but primarily I judge high school meets.”
In the 36 years she has had her license, she has judged 19 sectionals, 17 Regionals, and 12 State finals, and this year had the honor of being named the 2017 Interscholastic Athletic Official Award for excellence in the sport of gymnastics.
“I knew that I was nominated for the award, but I had no idea that I had won it,” Seibert explained. “I got a text from my son, Chris, when it was announced that I had won and he asked, ‘Were you going to tell us?’ And I was like, ‘Tell you what?’ I had no idea! But it was really special.”
During her free time, Seibert loves spending time with her grandchildren and family. She and her husband have three kids, Chris, Andy, and Emily and two grandkids, who she loves dearly.
“We’re so lucky to have our grandkids close by,” Seibert said. “Really, any time we get to spend with our grandkids and family is great.”
She and her husband love to stay active by walking every day and they love staying active in the community by going to different sporting events and different organizations like the Rotary Club and their church.
“We try to give back as much as we can,” Seibert said. “It’s such an incredible community with so many generous and giving people.”
For 36 years, Rin Seibert has called Valparaiso home. She has created a name for herself as a woman with a passion for sports, education, and community involvement. She has truly become one of those generous and giving people who has made Valpo a better place to live.
“I feel like I’m so blessed to be able to say I love my job after 36 years,” Seibert fondly said. “I’m just so happy I get to share this with my husband – my best friend – my kids, and my grandkids.”
For more information about Valparaiso University Recreational Sports, go to www.valpo.edu/recreational-sports/.