DES MOINES, Iowa -- After 16 years in the Pac-10 and one year spent working alongside one of the nation's top female athletic directors, Sandy Hatfield Clubb says she's thrilled to take over as Drake's new A.D. -- and ready for the challenge that comes with being the first woman to run a Division 1 program in
Hatfield Clubb, an associate A.D. at Arizona State, was
introduced as Drake's new athletic director at a news conference
Wednesday on the Drake campus.
She will become one of 25 women athletic directors at the 334
schools with Division I basketball. She succeeds Dave Blank, who
announced in February he accepted the athletic director job at Elon
University in North Carolina.
Hatfield Clubb, who will take over Aug. 1, said spending the
last year working under Arizona State athletic director Lisa Love
was an empowering experience that helped pave the way for her own big
"It taught me a little bit more of what I needed to know to be
a director of athletics as a woman," Hatfield Clubb said. "I've
had wonderful mentors along the way who have coached me to see that
as a strength."
Drake President David Maxwell called her a "perfect" choice to
focus on academic and athletic achievement. He added that he
received an e-mail from Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith,
who had Hatfield Clubb on his staff during his tenure in Tucson,
praising the hire as one that will move Division 1 athletics
forward -- and send a strong message nationally.
"We now have found somebody very, very special, someone who
understands the special role of athletics in an institution with
high expectations for its students and itself," Maxwell said of
Hatfield Clubb. "She's a nationally known, highly respected figure
in Division 1 athletics and the fact that she's chosen to join us
at Drake has created reverberations around the country."
Drake, a private school, has not disclosed the financial details
of Hatfield Clubb's contract.
Hatfield Clubb joined Arizona State in 1990 as a management
intern and worked her way to senior associate athletic director in
2002. She also served as the school's senior woman administrator to
the Pacific-10 Conference and the NCAA.
Drake considered more than 40 applicants to replace Blank, who
headed the school's sports department since 2000. The other two
finalists included Wayne State (Mich.) athletic director Robert
Fournier and Truman State (Mo.) athletic director Jerry Wollmering,
a 1987 Drake graduate.
One of Hatfield Clubb's main responsibilities will be trying to
turn around Drake's moribund men's basketball program. The Bulldogs
have racked up 19 straight losing seasons and rank a distant fourth
in their own state, behind Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa.
Hatfield Clubb has already spoken with assistant coach Keno
Davis -- the eventual successor to current coach Tom Davis -- about
what needs to be done to right the Bulldogs' ship.
"Building a program takes time," Hatfield Clubb said. "We
talked about adjusting the fan culture and start moving in that
winning way. One of things we need to do is fill up the stands. We
need to make sure every seat is full."
Drake teams are in a unique situation. The school resides in the
state's biggest city, but Iowa and Iowa State fans often outnumber
Bulldogs backers in their own backyard.
Hatfield Clubb doesn't plan on accepting that once she takes
"I can't wait to take on Iowa and Iowa State," Hatfield Clubb
said. "We've just got to get out there and get it done."