Columbia College named a new men’s basketball coach and an interim athletic director on Saturday after current head coach and athletic director Bob Burchard announced his retirement.

Associate head coach Tomas Brock will be promoted to head coach at the end of this season. Brock said he was offered the job on Tuesday.

“I haven’t had a lot of time to process it, to be honest,” he said after the Cougars’ win over Hannibal-LaGrange Saturday. “I got the job at the beginning of the week and then spent the week preparing for Harris Stowe and Hannibal-LaGrange. I’m trying to stay focused on the end of this season but I am looking forward to the opportunity.”

Brock has been with Columbia College since 2015. While his only head coaching experience comes from a year at the helm of the boys basketball team at Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Burchard said Brock’s 4 years with the Cougars set him apart.

“Since I spent a lot of time doing athletic director stuff, we needed someone who could shepherd our guys,” Burchard said. “I’ve been very fortunate to have (Brock) do that.”

Burchard, who said he was not involved in the search process, added that Brock “is bred to be a coach.” Brock’s father, Skip, was inducted to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016. His brother, Matt, was an assistant under Burchard and is now the head coach at Missouri Baptist. His sister, Abi Copeland, was an assistant coach at Springfield Central High School.

“He’s very intelligent, loves to study the game, and is really student-centered, which really fits Columbia College,” Burchard said of Brock.

Brock said he knows it won’t be easy to fill Burchard’s shoes. He plans to finish out the season as an assistant and then start recruiting before taking a look at what he wants his Columbia program to look like.

“It’s always hard to follow somebody that’s meant so much to the college as a whole,” Brock said. “That’s going to be difficult, but fortunately (Burchard has) taught me a lot and I know he’s going to be pulling for me.”

Associate athletic director for media relations and compliance Cindy Potter was named interim athletic director. Potter described the news as “bittersweet,” and said she’d work as Burchard’s assistant “for the rest of my life if I could.”

“Bob is somebody that I’ve looked up to for my entire career here,” Potter said. “He’s really taught me everything that I know about leadership.”

Potter played softball at Columbia College and is a member of the Columbia College Athletics hall of fame. She was elected the third vice president of the College Sports Information Directors of America in 2018. Burchard said Potter became a graduate assistant before ascending to the role of sports information director, taking over compliance and eventually become an assistant and then associate athletic director.

“Her reputation within the national associations, both NAIA and NCAA, is exemplary,” Burchard said. “She’s super well-respected on the national scene. She’s served on more committees and has more of a presence within the NAIA scene than I do.”

Potter said she hopes to have the interim tag removed from her title.

“I’ve always hoped and aspired to be in that position one day,” Potter said. “Hopefully the best person gets the position. If that’s me, great. If not, I look forward to working with whoever the new AD is.”

Potter said that Columbia College President Scott Dalrymple has formed a committee to conduct a national search for a new athletic director, and that the committee hopes to have someone in place by the summer or early fall.

Burchard said the news of both hires hasn’t been a distraction.

“I told (Brock) once he accepted the position, ‘I know what my future is, you know what your future is, and now we can just focus on trying to win a game.’”

  • Sports reporter, spring 2019. Studying magazine writing. Reach me at christina.long@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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