Getting to know...Andrea K.S. Saunders
Andrea Kathleen Stehman Saunders is proud of her home state of Indiana.
“Oh yeah,” she says. “I’m a Hoosier, through and through.”
Saunders, who currently works as an admissions counselor at Wofford, graduated from Butler University in Indianapolis, and got her master’s degree from Indiana University, where one of her older sisters also attended college. Her younger sister went to Purdue. Another sister went to Northwestern and Saunders’ mother and father both have degrees from Michigan. Academically, they had the Hoosier State not only covered, but surrounded.
Saunders is the third of four sisters (no brothers), and she considers her other middle sister her best friend. Upon graduation, she got her career off to a running start at Butler, where she served as an assistant track and cross country coach.
“Two years later, the team was doing really well, so I interviewed at several big name schools, including Clemson,” she recalls. “The former men’s coach at Clemson was (Wofford athletic director) Richard Johnson’s former college roommate, and while I was there he told me I should look at Wofford.
“I was like ‘Wof-who? Spartan-where?’ I had wanted to go to a small school, but my first thought was that I wouldn’t like Wofford or Spartanburg. But I drug my feet on the whole process and eventually I gave it a chance. When I visited, I was on campus literally for five minutes before I knew I wanted the job.”
That job was the head cross country coach at Wofford. One of the first things Saunders did was come over to admissions to get a tour of the campus. Jenni Lister did the honors, and later she would have the honor of introducing Saunders to her future husband, Mark.
It’s her marriage to Mark, in fact, that led to Saunders taking her current position and leaving the world of athletics behind.
“I wanted a job with less demands on my time,” she explains. “I love my husband to death. He grew up in Germany and lived in Greenville for 10 years, but we live here in Spartanburg now.”
They try to share one of Saunders’ passions – running and working out – as much as they can, though they often have to do so separately. One thing they do get to share is time outdoors on weekends.
“We love anything outdoors,” says Saunders. “Hiking. Whitewater rafting. I would also like to go skydiving.”
Saunders, who also loves movies, says she is only four degrees from actor Kevin Bacon. When she isn’t watching movies, she’s quoting them. She claims to be fluent in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, When Harry Met Sally, and “anything else that came out in the late 80s or early 90s.”
When March rolls around you will not find a bigger Butler basketball fan in Spartanburg. She can rattle off the names of players from 10 years ago just as easily as she can name the athletes on her own track and field teams. That coaching experience, she says, comes in handy in her current job.
“In recruiting, I would try to find the right student athletes for my program,” she says. “That has helped me here because we meet a lot of different types of students. Now I’m recruiting and performing admissions counseling not just for the athletes on my team, but for all the potential Wofford students. I feel like I know more of the students in this new position and that helps me sell Wofford even more. We talk to potential students about it being a small community, and if you don’t know anyone then it doesn’t look so small.”
While her track and field days are behind her for now, Saunders still runs quite a bit. In fact, she just ran a marathon in San Francisco last fall with Team IN Training to raise funds and awareness for leukemia and lymphoma, something that has touched her life way too many times for her liking.
“I hate cancer,” she says. “Hate, hate, hate it. This marathon was very important because it’s not just the research that you are raising money for, but there is the patient care and hiring someone to clean a patient’s house while they’re in the hospital or maybe driving them to the hospital if they’re at home.”