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APSU names top candidates for athletic director position

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University has narrowed its search for a new athletics director down to four strong candidates, and the University will begin interviewing the candidates in early July. APSU began looking for a new AD in April when Derek van der Merwe was promoted from that position to vice president of Advancement, Communications and Strategic Initiatives.

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University has narrowed its search for a new athletics director down to four strong candidates, and the University will begin interviewing the candidates in early July. APSU began looking for a new AD in April when Derek van der Merwe was promoted from that position to vice president of Advancement, Communications and Strategic Initiatives.

            After an extensive national search, the University is bringing the top candidates to campus next month for interviews. Interested campus and community members, along with the media, are invited to attend an open session with each candidate, from 4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m., in the Club Level of Governors Stadium on the dates listed below.

            • Tuesday, July 7: Ryan Ivey, athletic director at Texas A&M University-Commerce           

            • Thursday, July 9: Jason Coomer, senior associate director of athletics for external affairs at  Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

            • Friday, July 17: Dr. Roderick D. Perry, deputy director of athletics at Wright State University

            • Wednesday, July 22: Jim Sarra, deputy director of athletics at The University of Texas at San Antonio

            “Austin Peay’s reputation continues to attract talented professionals from across the country,” APSU President Alisa White said. “These individuals have watched the momentum building within both our athletic and academic programs. I am happy to have such a strong pool of candidates, and I am confident we will pick the right person to continue to move us forward.”

The Candidates:

Ryan Ivey

             Ryan Ivey is the athletic director at Texas A&M University-Commerce. He developed a five-year strategic plan for that department, and he helped usher in a new culture through a series of successful coaching and administrative hires.

            Ivey earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management and his master’s degree in sports and leisure commerce from the University of Memphis, where he was a four-year letter winner as a punter and holder on the football team. He has served as associate athletic director at McNeese State, as director of operations for women’s basketball at the University of Memphis, as marketing and promotions coordinator for the University of South Dakota and as stadium operations assistant for the Memphis Redbirds.

Jason Coomer

            Jason Coomer is senior associate director of athletics for external affairs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Coomer’s leadership has resulted in SIUE athletics expanding its brand and broadening its base as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.

            Coomer earned his bachelor’s degree in social science education from the University of Southern Indiana, where he played tennis as a student-athlete. He earned his master’s degree in sports management from the Ohio State University. He has served as assistant director of marketing and licensing and as assistant director of ticket sales and operations for DePaul University.

Dr. Roderick D. Perry

            Dr. Roderick D. Perry is deputy director of athletics at Wright State University. Perry has oversight over a $10 million budget, and he was instrumental in signing the first department-wide apparel contract with Impact Sports to wear the Nike brand exclusively.

            Perry earned his bachelor’s degree in health promotion, with an emphasis in sports administration, and his master’s degree in higher education administration from Auburn University. He received his Ph.D. in educational leadership, with a concentration in higher education administration, from the University of Dayton. He has served as senior associate athletic director at Wright State University, as associate athletic director for compliance and student services at Ohio University and as assistant athletic director for academic services at WSU.

Jim Sarra

            Jim Sarra is deputy director of athletics at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Under his leadership, the department has seen an increase in the number of student-athletes achieving a 3.0, or higher, GPA, as well as an increase in the number of student-athletes named to the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll.

            Sarra earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and his master’s degree in advanced teacher education from St. Bonaventure University. He also earned a master’s degree in sport management from Western Illinois University. During his career, he has served as senior associate director of athletics for external affairs, as associate athletics director for administration and as assistant athletics director for compliance at UTSA. He also served as senior associate athletics director for compliance and student services at the University of Maryland.

            For more information on the University’s AD search, please contact the APSU Office of Public Relations and Marketing at 931-221-7459.