California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Cal Lutheran appoints interim athletics director

Joey Root
Howard Davis holds a doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from Cal Lutheran.

Last month, California Lutheran University named Howard Davis as interim athletics director, replacing previous Athletics Director Holly Roepke. Roepke returned to Grinnell College, where she was appointed as director of athletics and recreation. She previously served as assistant athletic director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Grinell from 2017 to 2021. 

Davis, who is a Cal Lutheran alumni, will be in charge of overseeing the athletic programs at Cal Lutheran. According to, there are 22 intercollegiate athletic teams and over 500 student-athletes on campus.

“My role as our athletic director is to support our coaches and supporting our student-athletes and support staff to provide the highest quality student-athlete experience we can at Cal Lu,” Davis said.

Davis’ career started as the founding athletic director at Pacifica High School in Oxnard. He was also the athletic director at Moorpark Community College for 10 years. For the last year and a half, Davis has been the vice president of Academic Affairs at Antelope Valley Community College.  

Davis said he plans to improve the quality and availability of resources through fundraising and other efforts so that Cal Lutheran will continue to provide what athletes need and potentially grow the athletics program.

“The biggest challenge is always resources because our coaches want to provide the highest quality student-athlete experience possible and you know all of those things require resources,” Davis said. “That’s the biggest challenge and it’s a challenge for every athletic program from high school to community college to four year to the Division I level.”

Vice President of Enrollment Management, Matt Ward, will be working closely with Davis regarding student-athletes and the athletics programs at Cal Lutheran.

“Athletics represents an important part of our value proposition as to why students would want to come to Cal Lutheran,” Ward said. “Athletes represent about 20% of our undergraduate student population so coaches’ ability to recruit and inspire students to apply and consider Cal Lutheran is a critical part of our success.”

Ward shared the same sentiment as Davis on increasing the revenue stream to the athletics department. He said there may be ways to use the Cal Lutheran facilities to bring youth in the community to activities like camps, and that such programs could bring in funds and boost interest among young people in the university.

Davis said he brings a fresh perspective to his role, and that his past experiences in higher education will help his service towards Cal Lutheran’s athletics. 

Division III sports have been a part of Davis’ life since his own college experience. He graduated from the University of Redlands and attended Claremont Mudd Scripps Graduate University, where he coached basketball for two years.

Davis said Division III sports have shaped his outlook, and he has found athletics as a way to pull students in, improve their academic experience, and motivate them.

“The Division III mentality of athletics’ role in the higher educational experience has been foundational to my philosophy,” Davis said.

He said his position as interim athletics director at Cal Lutheran is a great opportunity, and is thrilled to serve in the role.


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