Sports, Thursday, May 7th

By: Nathan Bloechl — 

Zander Moved to VP of Advancement, Athletics:

Derek Zander, who has served as the athletic director at Iowa Wesleyan University since 2017, will take on a new role as vice president for advancement and athletics, effective June 1.

In this capacity, Zander will continue to oversee athletics for the University while taking on the leadership of the advancement team.

While serving as the Athletics Director, Zander has made significant improvements to the Tiger Athletics Department over the last three years.

There have been enhancements made to the men’s and women’s soccer facilities, scoreboard and sound system upgrades to the Ruble Arena, aesthetic improvements to the Howe Student Athletic Center, and improvements to several technology pieces within the athletic department.

Zander also assisted in the final stages of the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III, which took just over six years to complete.

He has been instrumental in growing the number of athletic programs from 10 in 2017 to 16 for the 2020-2021 academic year. ​

In 2018, Zander joined the Iowa Wesleyan Advancement Team to focus on the development needs of the University. In conjunction with members of the advancement team, Zander led the efforts to renovate the Willis Wrestling Facility, which is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2020.

The 2019 Carol J. Nemitz Staff Member of the Year Award winner, Zander has shown strong dedication and commitment to enhancing the student-athlete experience, while assisting in executing the mission and vision of the university.

Mount Pleasant’s Akey Moving to Burlington:

After two years as the head coach of Mount Pleasant boys’ varsity basketball, Caleb Akey is honoring his roots.

A 1996 graduate of Burlington High School, Akey has been named the Grayhounds’ new varsity boys’ basketball coach after Reggie Shipp’s contract was not renewed.

Burlington went 12-10 this season under Shipp, their first winning record in over 20 years.

Akey went 23-21 in his two seasons as head coach in maroon and gold, that after spending nine years learning from arguably one of the best to do it in Mount Pleasant basketball history in Paul Rundquist.

Akey seems to be getting into a program at the right time, as the Grayhounds aim to crescendo quickly.

Two years ago they were 0-21 — after compiling their first winning campaign in two decades, Akey will look to take them to the next level.

The opening in Mount Pleasant now becomes an interesting one.

Legendary former Iowa Wesleyan head coach Alan Magnani was the assistant under Akey this year, with Mike Wilson coaching junior varsity and Ray Stigge coaching the freshman group.

Big 12 to Host Virtual Media Day?

The Big 12 is the first Power 5 Conference to announce that this summer’s football media day will be hosted virtually, a league spokesman announced.

The event was scheduled to be held at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock in July — but with ongoing COVID-19 concerns, the conference has decided to play things safe.

The AAC, MAC, Mountain West and Conference USA have already announced they’ll hold football media day virtually this summer.

The Big Ten has yet to announce any changes to their media day, scheduled still for July 22nd and 23rd in Chicago.