NJCAA Insider - October 2017
Servicing the northern portion of Illinois, Region 4 has a diverse membership competing in all three divisions of the NJCAA. The region is led by Gary Huber (men’s director) and Berdy Kuiken (women’s director) with the assistance of Wally Reynolds (men’s assistant) and Doug Spiwak (women’s assistant).
A closer look at Gary Huber – Region 4 Men’s Director
A member of Region 4 leadership since 1992, Huber started in the NJCAA as a baseball coach in 1990 at Black Hawk - Moline (IL). He was elevated to director of athletics in 1992 - the same year he was elected as the Region 4 men's director. Since 1999 he has led the men's golf team at Black Hawk as head coach.
Huber has been an adjunct faculty member at Black Hawk since 2006 and helped launch the college's sports management program.
Huber served eight years on the NJCAA eligibility committee while also being a reliable member of numerous sport committees over the years and was awarded the George E. Killian Award of Excellence in 2009.
In addition to being a region director, Huber currently holds an at-large post on the NJCAA Executive Committee.
A closer look at Berdy Kuiken – Region 4 Women’s Director
A trailblazer for women's athletics in Region 4, Kuiken was the athletic coordinator and academic advisor at South Suburban (IL) for 38 years before retiring in 2015. She was instrumental in starting the women's athletic programs at the college, setting the standard for success in the region. She attended the very first women's division meeting in Region 4 and in 1988 was elected as the region's women's director.
Kuiken has been the chair of Division II softball since 1999 and has been a valuable member of numerous committees over her 30 years of service. In 2006 she was the inaugural recipient of the George E. Killian Award of Excellence.
Now retired, Kuiken has more time to attend and cheer on the teams and student-athletes in Region 4 while also spending time with family and watching her six grandsons compete in athletics at various levels.
Why do you recommend the NJCAA to student-athletes?
Gary: Opportunity to earn an education and participate at a competitive level as a student-athlete.
Berdy: The NJCAA is the perfect opportunity for a student-athlete to pursue their academic and athletic goals. It is the perfect stepping stone to transfer to a four-year institution or achieve a career and give back to the community.
What do you enjoy the most about being a Region Director?
Gary: Working with quality people who serve as Region Directors from other parts of our country and I enjoy watching our student-athletes and coaches experience success.
Berdy: I like the relationships with coaches, athletic directors and student-athletes. I enjoy attending the region tournaments and presenting awards to the student-athletes, it is great to share in something they will never forget. I'm in awe of the talented athletes that attend our colleges.
What do you enjoy the most about the NJCAA?
Gary: The opportunity to provide leadership at the national and membership level.
Berdy: For the past 29 years I have enjoyed participating with region directors from the other 23 regions in decisions that better the organization and assist our student-athletes. I also enjoy the camaraderie with the region directors and officers.
Tell us something special about your region.
Gary: Region 4 has 30 schools, which makes up about five percent of the national membership and our schools are fortunate enough to be at a relatively close distance compared to other regions.
Berdy: Region 4 has three divisions. Our colleges are located in the metro of Chicago, rural areas and suburbs. At times we have three region tournaments for one sport happening at the same time. It is busy for a region director but exciting to see all the student-athletes that participate in our region.
What is your favorite sport and why?
Gary: Golf. In baseball, you can experience success if you fail seven out of 10 at-bats as a hitter. In basketball, you can miss half of your shots and be successful. Golf is the hardest sport I have ever made an effort to perfect. One bad shot can minimize success in the sport of golf.
Berdy: I love them all but have a special place for softball, volleyball and basketball.