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UNI extends contract for athletic director<br>

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Tom Schellhardt, vice president for administration and finance, (319) 273-2382
Rick Hartzell, director of athletics, (319) 273-2470
Gwenne Culpepper, University Marketing and Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa has extended the employment contract of Rick Hartzell, director of athletics, for four years.

Hartzell, a UNI alumnus who played baseball and football for UNI during the '70s, came to UNI in 1999 after 11 years as athletic director at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor's degree in physical education and English, and a master's in educational administration, both from UNI. Hartzell is pursuing a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Iowa.

'Rick Hartzell is responsible for much of the intercollegiate athletic revitalization that is taking place here,' said Tom Schellhardt, UNI vice president for administration and finance, who noted that Hartzell also has played an instrumental role in fundraising for the proposed $18 million McLeodUSA Center.

Under Hartzell's leadership, the university has hired three new head coaches, all university alumni: Greg McDermott, men's basketball; Mark Farley, football; and Bobbi Petersen, volleyball. Hartzell also hired Rick Heller, head baseball coach; Brad Penrith, head wrestling coach; Linda Whitehead, head women's soccer coach; Christy Hebert, head softball coach; Stacey Simmer, head women's swim coach; and John Bermel, head golf coach.

'Sports Illustrated' ranked UNI 69th for student athletic success this year, and two years ago UNI was ranked 25th in the nation in the prestigious Sears Cup competition for most successful intercollegiate athletic program.

'Rick's admiration for and dedication to this university is evident,' Schellhardt said. 'He continues to meet the challenges of intercollegiate athletics in the 21st century with fervor and vision. We can think of no more fitting recognition of Rick and his accomplishments than to extend his contract at his alma mater.'

'I can't express how important this place has been to me,' Hartzell said. 'And I'm grateful for the support -- from students, the community and the university family -- that has allowed us to build a strong athletics program with national recognition and respect.'