Jacob Ripple is no stranger to Dodge City or Dodge City Community College.

The new athletic director for the college — replacing the retired Casey Mallek — is a graduate of Dodge City High School.

"I graduated in 1992," Ripple said. "I also spent 8 years at Garden City Community College, first as a women’s basketball coach and later in the athletic department administration.

"So I’m familiar with Dodge City and the Jayhawk Conference."

Ripple moves to Dodge City after a stint as athletic director at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska. While at Northeast, Ripple added four new sports at the school, doubling the number of athletic programs from four to eight.

"It’s not a focus right now," Ripple said when asked if he was looking to add more at DCCC. "Many of those we added at Northeast are already available here at Dodge City.

"The great thing about expanding is that by adding programs, you’re expanding enrollment and just adding one full-time coach or one full time and one part-time coach."

While expansion isn’t on his radar right now, there is something he needs to get done pretty quickly.

"I have to find a men’s basketball coach and a women’s soccer coach," Ripple said. "As soon as I was done with human resources, I was on the phone with a basketball coach candidate.

"It stinks trying to hire coaches so late in the game, but I think there was this desire to let me hire who I wanted.

"The problem is that a month ago, I didn’t know I would be here."

When asked how he heard about the opening, the new athletic director laughed.

"I heard from several people, some in the athletic department," he said. "I went to high school with some of them, so I heard about it right away.

"I really didn’t think about the opening — and if it weren’t for the student activity center I wouldn’t have continued — but the college’s place in the community, an on-campus facility for athletics — it was a good fit.

"I just had to convince myself I wanted to come back."

Now, the only thing left to do is update the wardrobe.

"I need to get some Conq gear," he said walking into the campus bookstore. "Of course, I will have to get the wife some too."

To contact the writer email rbluhm@dodgeglobe.com.