CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- University of Northern Iowa Director of Athletics Rick Hartzell has resigned effective, Jan. 31. Hartzell began his tenure as the Panthers' athletic director in August 1999. His latest contract was set to expire in June 2009.
According to Tom Schellhardt, UNI vice president for administration & finance, UNI will name an interim athletic director by Feb. 1 and begin a national search for a new athletic director as soon as possible.
"Under Rick's leadership and guidance our athletic programs and student-athletes have set high standards, both on the field and in the classroom," said UNI President Benjamin Allen. "Rick has helped build a strong foundation of Panther excellence. We wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors."
"I'd like to thank our great staff and coaches, and our terrific student-athletes, for all they've done to help make UNI one of the premier athletics programs in the country," said Hartzell. "I'm very proud of what we've accomplished during the last eight and a half years.
"I'd also like to thank our great alumni, the people of the Cedar Valley and state of Iowa, and Panther fans everywhere for their fabulous support. I'm considering my future career options, but Jill, Jackson and I look forward to making the Cedar Valley our home for the long term."
"Our goal will be to find someone who can build on the foundation Rick has laid," said Schellhardt. "UNI athletics is at a much higher level of success than when Rick arrived almost nine years ago, and we want someone to continue that success."
Panther athletic teams have won several conference championships and have made numerous post-season appearances during his tenure. Hartzell also has been involved in several facility upgrades, including the construction of the McLeod Center and the Richard O. Jacobson Human Performance Complex, which opened this week and will be formally dedicated this spring.
Hartzell, who played football and baseball for the Panthers, is a 1974 UNI graduate with bachelor's degrees in physical education and English. He received his master's in educational administration from UNI in 1977.