News Release

Henze to step down as LC State athletic director in June

LEWISTON, Idaho – Brooke (Cushman) Henze announced Tuesday that she will be stepping down as Lewis-Clark State College’s athletic director at the end of June.

Henze, 44, said it is simply the right time for the move. She is in her 18th year in the athletics department and seventh as athletic director. She will continue in her role, including as director of the Avista NAIA World Series, through June 30. She shared the following statement.

  • “LC State is such a special place and I am so grateful that I have been able to spend two decades working with amazing people who have impacted me in such a positive way. To say I’ve been blessed is an understatement. I start by thanking Jamie White for giving me my first opportunity to work in athletics. I thank president Dene Thomas for hiring me back after graduate school to be part of the Warrior team in 2006, president Tony Fernandez for giving me a chance to serve as director of athletics in 2017, and president Pemberton for her support the last six years and continued commitment to excellence in Warrior athletics. I can’t imagine my Warrior life without [preceding athletic director] Gary Picone who has been a truly amazing mentor and friend. To my coaches and staff: coach Fong, Collins, Johnson, Taylor, Palmer, Orlandi and Anderson, and to my staff, Kristina, Samantha, Tracy, George, Alisha, David and Ty, thank you for sticking with me and believing in the Warrior Way. I am so very proud to be part of all the things we accomplished. To the WAA board, sponsors and community, I thank you for your support of the Warriors. I’d like to think that I am leaving Warrior athletics in a better place than when I started, but I do know the best is yet to come.”

Henze, who played basketball for LC State from 1997-2001, has led the athletic program to tremendous success both in competition and the classroom, and has been instrumental in making the World Series a signature event for not just the college but the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“I’ve heard that Brooke was the type of student-athlete who gave it her whole heart and left it all on the court,” LC State President Cynthia Pemberton said. “I have no trouble believing this to be true because that’s what she’s done in her 18 years of service at Lewis-Clark State College. No one has worked harder, no one has cared more deeply, no one has put in more time, no one has overcome bigger challenges, and no one has made a bigger impact on Warrior athletics than Brooke.”

Under Henze’s leadership, LC State has qualified a team or a player to national competition in nine of the school's 12 sports over the past five years. The college also recently added a 13th program in varsity dance. In the classroom during the last academic year, a total of 72 student-athletes were honored with Academic All-Cascade Conference honors. Last fall, 182 student-athletes achieved a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

Prior to becoming athletic director in 2017, Henze served as associate athletic director for seven years and assistant athletic director for three years at the college. She has served as the director of the Avista NAIA World Series since 2011, and as director of the Warrior Athletic Association, the college's athletics booster club, since 2009.

Henze has earned several honors during her time at the college. In 2017, she won the Robert Ish Smith Award from the NAIA Baseball Coaches Executive Committee for "unselfish promotion of NAIA baseball." In 2019, she won the Rising Star Young Alumna Award from the LC State Alumni Association, and was named the Women Leaders in College Sports Administrator of the Year for the NAIA. In 2020, she was honored with a Women’s Leadership Award during the Women’s Leadership Conference held at LC State and also was named Frontier Conference Athletic Director of the Year.

As a student-athlete, Henze helped the Warrior women’s team qualify for the NAIA National Tournament all four years. During her senior year, the Warriors advanced to the national semifinal, which at the time was the best finish in program history. She graduated from the college in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in communications and went on to obtain a master's degree in athletic administration from Gonzaga in 2007.

“Brooke will be missed,” Pemberton said. “Through her perseverance and passion she truly embodies the Warrior spirit that has pushed this college beyond obstacles and expectations for 131 years. On behalf of the college, I thank Brooke for her legacy and leadership at LC State and wish her nothing but continued success in the future.”

The college intends to begin its search for a new athletic director immediately and hopes to have a selection in place for fall semester.