MOUNT PLEASANT, IA – Iowa Wesleyan University will be searching for a new Athletic Director as Derek Zander, who has served as the A.D. 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.
“I am so pleased that Derek has taken on this new role,” said Iowa Wesleyan President Chris Plunkett. “Over the past several years, Derek has demonstrated his leadership skills and has successfully forged close relationships with Iowa Wesleyan students, alumni, and donors.”
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 assisted IW in the final stages of the transition from NAIA to NCAA Division III, which took just over six years to complete. He also led the advancement of Tiger Athletics by 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. He also played a crucial role in leading a crowdfunding campaign for Tiger Athletics and re-engaging key stakeholders to the University.
In April of 2019, Zander received the 2019 Carol J. Nemitz Staff Member of the Year Award from Iowa Wesleyan for his dedication and commitment to enhancing the student-athlete experience, while assisting in executing the mission and vision of the University.
Prior to his role as Athletic Director, Zander served as the head baseball coach from 2013 through the spring of 2017. He served as IW’s NCAA compliance officer from the fall of 2014 to the summer of 2017. In the fall of 2016, Zander assumed the position of assistant athletic director before being promoted to the full-time athletic director.
Zander is an IW Tiger through and through. He completed his undergraduate degree from Iowa Wesleyan in exercise science and wellness. While attending IW, he was a member of the Tiger Baseball team. In February 2015, Zander completed his master’s degree in athletic administration from the University of Concordia-Irvine.