ISU announces athletic director finalists

2011-04-08T09:36:00Z 2011-04-09T21:02:33Z ISU announces athletic director finalistsBy Jim Benson |

NORMAL — Dan Layzell said his search committee charged with finding Illinois State’s new athletic director is pleased with three finalists who have emerged with “broad-based experiences and attributes we are looking for.”

Jane Meyer, senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator at Iowa; Brian Wickstrom, senior associate athletic director at Texas-El Paso; and Gary Friedman, senior associate athletic director at Louisville, were named Friday as the candidates to replace Sheahon Zenger, who left ISU for the same position at Kansas earlier this year.

Meyer (April 18), Wickstrom (April 21) and Friedman (April 26) will be on campus for interviews later this month. All will participate in a one-hour open forum beginning at 2:30 p.m. in the Bone Student Center Old Main Room where they will give a presentation and answer questions.

Layzell, the school’s vice-president for finance and planning who is head of the 14-person search committee, said after the open forums the next move will be up to ISU president Al Bowman.

“He’ll gather information from the search committee and make the decision,” said Layzell.

Executive associate athletic director Larry Lyons has been serving as ISU’s interim AD until a permanent replacement is found. Lyons was not a candidate for the position.

The following is a look at the three finalists:

Jane Meyer

Meyer has served in her current post at Iowa since March 2001. In that role, she has helped direct the construction of $250 million of athletics facilities, including a $90 million renovation of Kinnick Stadium. She also has overseen day-to-day operations for men’s and women’s basketball and football along with supervising five other athletic teams.

Before coming to Iowa, Meyer served as the director of education outreach for the NCAA for two years. In that role, she directed the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills Program, alcohol education and drug testing programs, Title IX/gender equity education, women’s issues and the injury surveillance program.

Meyer was associate AD/senior woman administrator and assistant professor at Wisconsin-LaCrosse, a Division III school, from 1993-99. She oversaw a 19-sport program and was director of the graduate sports administration program. Meyer also was UWL’s interim AD for six months.

After receiving a bachelor of science degree in biology from Mount Mercy College in 1982, Meyer earned a master’s degree and doctorate of philosophy from Iowa.

Meyer was Mount Mercy’s women’s basketball coach from 1983-85. She also served on the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee for five years and was chair for the 2010 tournament.

Brian Wickstrom

Wickstrom has served in athletic departments at Ohio, Missouri, Santa Clara and Michigan before joining UTEP in his current role in 2006. Wickstrom oversees five sports at UTEP, including men’s basketball, and has made a strong impact in fundraising and finance that includes a $14.3 million basketball practice facility.

He also has helped implement a marketing campaign for UTEP football that has seen the three highest season-ticket sales numbers in program history and secured $7.4 million in commitments for UTEP in his first 53 months, with $2.9 million in commitments from new major gift donors.

Prior to joining Missouri as a fundraiser in 1999, Wickstrom worked in the banking industry in Kansas City, Mo., and Shawnee, Kan., rising to an assistant vice-president.

Wickstrom received a track and field scholarship from Kansas State and graduated from the school with a bachelor’s degree in business administration/finance in 1991. He later earned master’s degrees from Kansas State (1992) and Ohio University (1999) before earning a doctorate degree in education/educational leadership from Eastern Michigan in 2006.

Wickstrom reportedly was a finalist for the University of Houston AD position in 2009.

Gary Friedman

Friedman, a native of Deerfield who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois, has worked at Louisville for the last 10 years. He was associate athletic director for development from 2001-09 before being elevated to his present position in 2009.

As senior associate AD for external relations, Friedman works in the areas of development, marketing, tickets, merchandise and game-day entertainment. He helped lead fundraising efforts at Louisville that resulted in construction of several facilities that totaled more than $350 million.

Friedman helped raise more than $41 million in athletic gifts during the 2009-10 school year. The Cardinal Athletic Fund saw a 200 percent growth in revenue in his nine years with membership growing from 6,500 to more than 10,000.

Prior to joining Lousville, Friedman was an associate athletic director at Central Michigan from 1996-2001 and assistant athletic director at East Tennessee State from 1992-96. He also was director of athletics marketing and promotions at East Tennessee State and assistant to the associate AD at Illinois.

Friedman also was an assistant coach at Doug Collins’ basketball camp from 1987-89 in the Chicago suburbs.


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