Fargo - Tuesday was March 31, and if Lynn Dorn had her way, any discussion on or before March 30 until the day she was born was off the table. Look ahead. Clean break.

Simple and easy. But it was the last day in her women’s athletic director career at North Dakota State, and there were some basic tasks that had to be done, such as an administrative meeting that she knew wasn’t going to be easy.

“That’s not my style,” she said. “I’ve been given an opportunity because of people.”

But those very same people will want to say goodbye in some fashion. Those people wanted to take her to dinner, lunch, coffee – anything to say thanks. On Tuesday morning, how was Dorn doing?

“I’m a mess,” she said. “I just want to get through this day. Just move on. Athletics is a lifestyle, and that lifestyle is interrupted right now.”

Her career is not the only thing that is in transition. So is the job title of women’s athletic director, which will be phased out in favor of a senior woman’s administrator – a model carried by the rest of the country in college athletics.

Dorn said she thinks she’s the last women’s athletic director in America.

“I don’t know of anybody else who has that title,” she said. “It was a model, and because of longevity, it sustained itself. It is a dying breed.”

Longevity is defined as 37 years at the same university, taking on a position at a time when there was little regard for women’s athletics. Telling the year-to-year story of progress is probably a book in itself, but there is no question NDSU was on the forefront of bringing women’s sports from the back pages to the public forefront.

Before there was a Division I FCS football title run, there was a Division II women’s basketball dynasty. That is defined by five national titles including four in a row.

Looking back, there were the leaders in the athletic department at the time like athletic director Ade Sponberg, head football coach Don Morton and university President Laurel Loftsgard. Dorn calls Sponberg an important mentor in her career.

“But the men that supported us had a strong presence of women,” Dorn said. “It was unique. Look at Sue Morton, look at her strength. Those women subtly influenced our outcomes. Kay Burgum, she gave us relevance of who we are.”

In Dorn’s tenure, NDSU produced all-Americans, conference and national titles that cumulatively reached into triple figures. She served on more committees and boards than she can count. Her favorite was being president of the NCAA Division II membership committee.

“That was such a rich, professional experience,” she said.

She was the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Administrator of the Year in 1997.

So what now? What now after she escapes the pomp and circumstance of retirement thank-yous and events? Dorn said she would like to continue to teach on campus, something she’s done the last two semesters. She’s already looked into substitute teaching in the Fargo and/or West Fargo school districts. And then there are her seven great-grandnieces and great-grandnephews, all of whom are active in something.

You’ll probably find her at a youth volleyball, basketball, baseball, hockey, football, softball, figure skating or dance event.

“That gives you a sense of the Dorn family and their families and how important sport was to us,” she said.

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