Monday, May 01, 2006

Candidates for Drake Athletic Director Job Narrowed to 3, And They'll Visit the Campus Soon; Drake Relays' Outstanding Competitors Are Named

The top three finalists for the Drake athletic director job will visit the campus beginning Monday, May 8, university president David Maxwell said today.

The finalists were chosen by a 10-member committee of faculty and staff who sifted through more than 40 applications before settling on the finalists.

"We believe that we have three candidates who would be not only the top choices for the Drake athletic director but for any athletic director's job in the country," Maxwell [left] said.

"The volume and quality of candidates we have is a reflection of the reputation of Drake University and Drake athletics around the country. The three finalists all appear to have the experience, skills, and commitment that match Drake's aspirations for excellence in our athletics, recreational, and wellness programs."

The finalists are:

--Sandy Hatfield Clubb [right], senior associate director of athletics and senior women's administrator, Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.

--Robert J. Fournier [center], athletic director at Wayne State University in Commerce, Mich.

--Jerry Wollmering , a Drake graduate who is athletic director at Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo.

Each of the candidates will participate in a variety of discussions and interviews with relevant on-campus constituencies, as well as members of the Drake Board of Trustees and the Bulldog Club.

Drake's current athletic director, Dave Blank, said in February that he would leave the university after the Drake Relays to take the same position at Elon University in Elon, N.C.

I still think Jean Berger, Drake's top women's athletic administrator, would have been a strong athletic director. She was my choice for the job. But, hey, I'm not paying the bills over there. Maxwell is.

So I'm sure his finalists are outstanding.

* * *

Christian Cantwell and Michigan sophomore Nicole Edwards have been named the outstanding men's and women's performers, respectively, of the 2006 Drake Relays.

Nick Kuchel, a senior at Kingsley-Pierson High School, and Burlington High School senior Jenna Caffrey were named the outstanding high school boys' and girls' performers, respectively.

Cantwell was named recipient of the Maury White Award, named after the long-time sportswriter for the Des Moines Register, who died in 1999. Cantwell also earned the award in 2002 as a senior at Missouri.

Cantwell, who won the 2004 World Indoor Championships, broke one of the oldest Drake Relays records in the men's invitational shot put with a throw of 72 feet 6.25 inches, bettering the previous mark of 69-6.50 by Al Feuerbach of the Pacific Coast Track Club in 1972.

It also marked the second straight week he posted the best outdoor throw in the world after recording a mark of 70-3.75 to win the Kansas Relays April 21.

On Friday afternoon Edwards ran the anchor leg on Michigan's distance medley relay team which won an unprecedented third straight university division title, being clocked in 11 minutes 6.13 seconds.

She came back later that evening to run the third leg on the Wolverines' winning university division 4x800 relay which was timed in 8:39.59

Edwards also ran the anchor leg on Michigan's 4x1,600 relay which finished third in 19:39.03.

Amy Acuff, who set a Drake Relays record in the women's invitational high jump (6-4) and Nebraska senior Becky Breisch who won the discus (202-0.5) for the second time in three years, also received votes. Breisch's throw was the second best mark in the U.S. this year, trailing only her throw of 205-2 in Lincoln, Neb., April 15.

Kuchel, who was named recipient of the Robert Kramme Award as the outstanding high school boys performer, edged out West Des Moines Valley junior Brian Collins, who won the 100 while running the anchor leg on three winning relay teams.

Kuchel was the only individual double winner in the high school boys division, claiming titles in the 110 hurdles (14.49) and 400 hurdles (54.10).

He won the 110 hurdles for the third straight year, becoming just the second prep to win the event three years in a row, joining Cyrus Nichols of Des Moines Roosevelt 1997-99.

Caffrey, of Burlington, was named the recipient of the Gerry Cooley Award as the outstanding high school girls performer after winning the high school girls 100 hurdles (13.80) for the third straight year, while also winning the 400 hurdles in 1:03.02. She also ran the anchor leg on the shuttle hurdle relay which was second in 1:03.58, while anchoring the 4x100 relay to a seventh-place finish in 50.37.