BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Baxter Sports Complex has a new front man.
Wes Holtkamp, who has managed the facility for the past two and half years, has stepped aside to pursue an independent business, opening the door for Jeff Woodside, a 33-year-old Burlington native.
Woodside took over the reins Monday morning and said he’s looking forward to working with the community and sports complex board to continue the good work that’s been done since the park opened.
“This is still very new and that’s what was appealing to me,” Woodside said Monday. “There’s a chance here to bring some new things and some additional tournaments to the complex.”
Woodside has a strong background in coaching and athletics and has a degree in business administration which made him an attractive candidate, according to Marty Dean, chairman of the sports complex board of directors.
Dean said the board got more than 20 applications for the position and Woodside’s skill set was what set him apart.
“He has experience in sports, he has good organizational skills, and is a task master,” Dean said. “He’s somebody that will be able to jump into the role and help us achieve the results we’re looking for in filling up the schedule with activities for adults and kids alike. He has really good experience working with the youth and that’s a good talent we need.”
Woodside was born and raised in Burlington and played varsity basketball for Mark Bigler and the Grayhounds before attending Southeastern Community College and Western Illinois University graduating with a degree in Business Management. He also played basketball for the Leathernecks.
He’s currently the head coach for the Grayhound sophomore basketball team and an assistant coach on the varsity squad, a position he will keep while managing the sports complex. Woodside said the schedule would not be prohibitive to the demands of the complex during the winter evening hours.
Prior to taking the sports complex job, Woodside was working as a outreach coordinator with Great River Health Systems, but has wanted to get back into the sports industry.
“I’ve got a background in sports and all along that’s been something I wanted to do and get back into athletics in some way, shape or form. I’m hoping to go back and get a masters in athletic administration and this job would fit in along those lines.
He said he hopes to be able to increase programming at the complex and that would include trying to develop a relationship with the Burlington Rec-Plex for larger tournaments. He said he’s known Burlington Rec-Plex manager Kirk Danforth for some time and would welcome a relationship with him.
“That would be awesome. Definitely something I would like to do,” Woodside said. “I’ve known Kirk for a long time and would love that partnership. I mean we’re 20 minutes apart. Look at Cedar Rapids, for example, you’re a half an hour to get to Marion from the other part of the city. This is my first day, so I don’t know what it may look like, but regional tournaments where you could utilize both complexes would be something I’d be very interested in.”
Holtkamp said he had a chance to meet with Woodside Monday.
“We had a nice conversation and I think he’s going to do a great job,” Holtkamp said. “I wish him all the best and I really appreciate all the support I received from the community while I was there.”