During his time at USD, athletic director Dave Herbster and his staff have worked hard to revitalize the athletic program, evident by the creation of new facilities such as the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, First Bank & Trust Soccer Complex, Lillibridge Track Complex, a new weight room and now renovations to the DakotaDome.
Dave Herbster has been the athletic director at USD since 2013 but has been part of the USD athletics administrative staff since 2007, when USD made the move to Division I.
Prior to his hiring at USD, Dave Herbster worked as athletics director at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Concordia University in St. Paul, Minn., as well as assistant director of athletic marketing at North Dakota State and Pittsburgh State University in Kansas
However, there is much more to Dave Herbster outside his role of athletic director.
Dave Williams, deputy athletic director and longtime friend of Dave Herbster said he believes he and Dave Herbster work well together because they are friends outside of work.
“We met 23 years ago when we were at North Dakota State as both young, stupid interns. We lived together for a year and got to know each other,” Williams said. “We work very well together, I think we play off each other’s strengths because we are similar in many ways.”
Williams believes that Dave Herbster excels at his job because of his unique ability to make everyone feel important.
“Whether it is a student he passes in the MUC or a fan at a game, he has the ability to make them feel important. He is one of the nicest people I know,” Williams said.
The athletic department has taken vast strides since its introduction to Division I, something Williams and Dave Herbster take pride in.
“If you look at the improvement made by the Summit League schools in the last six years, you could argue that we are the most improved, and that started with the leadership,” Williams said.
Life outside the office
An abundance of projects induce a heavy workload, and Dave Herbster said it can be difficult to juggle work and family time.
“The sense of duty to the coaches and the athletes and the sense of duty to your family, they both suffer at times,” he said. “There are things that I’ve missed of the girls because I have been working, but there are things I’ve missed at work because I won’t miss something of my girls.”
With three daughters–Morgan, Kasey, and Leah– Dave Herbster is the only male in his family.
“As much as I would have loved to have a boy I couldn’t possibly imagine giving up any of my girls. They’ve all got me wrapped around their finger,” Dave Herbster said.
Morgan, his oldest daughter and a sophomore nursing major at USD, said she believes her father is good at his job because he cares about his students.
“He sincerely cares about all the students. He understands student-athletes because he was one. He always wants my feedback about what the students want,” Morgan Herbster said.
Dave Herbster said he believes growing up is a challenge and the role of parenting has changed due to social media giving a different way for people to communicate. However, one thing he loves to do as a parent is cook for his family, something he said he spent lots of time learning from his mother while he was growing up.
“My mother always told me if you like to eat you better learn how to cook,” he said. “Once you’re on your own spaghetti and ramen noodles gets old.”
When he isn’t working, Dave Herbster enjoys reading, golfing (though he said he isn’t very good at it) and traveling with his family. If he could travel anywhere, he would go to Egypt to see the history.
“Here (in Vermillion) a house is a hundred years old and it is on the historic register,” Dave Herbster said. “A few years ago, I went to Spain and saw churches that were over a thousand years old. I want to go further back than that and just immerse myself in the history.”
Herbster said his proudest career accomplishment happens once a year at graduation.
“That sense of accomplishment getting to see them grow from a freshman from when they graduate. The big wins that all of our teams have happen all the time. Though you cherish those you’re always on to the next one,” Herbster said.