Mike Dick, who oversaw a wave of expansion and sweeping changes at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, will retire next year.
Dick, 64, has led the nation’s only statewide girls’ high school athletic association since 2008.
He will step down Aug. 31, 2016, according to a statement released Friday by the Union.
“I am proud to have served as the executive director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union for the last seven years,” Dick said in a press release. “I was able to fulfill a dream of mine by working for the IGHSAU. It has been a pleasure to serve so many great schools, administrators, staff, officials, coaches and, especially, the Iowa Girl.”
Dick led the union’s expansion to five classes in basketball, softball, golf and volleyball in 2011. He also shifted the organization’s offices from the stately former governor’s mansion in Des Moines to newer digs in West Des Moines in 2012.
“The time is right to retire. My family has always catered to me and my job,” Dick said in the statement. “The time has come for me to give my time back to them.”
Dick was hired at the union in 2002 as an assistant director. He replaced Troy Dannen, now the athletics director at the University of Northern Iowa, as the executive director in August 2008.
He helped keep the Union on stable financial footing and continued Iowa’s tradition of strong support for girls’ sports.
“Because of the separate (associations), girls have had so much more opportunities,” Fort Dodge softball coach Andi Adams said. “The move to five classes gave so many more teams an opportunity to play in state tournaments.”
Adams served as an assistant coach at Prairie Valley when Dick was the principal. She said he was patient and eager for input from a variety of perspectives, something he continued as a statewide athletic administrator.
“He’s always wanting to listen to different perspectives,” Adams said.
Dick was unavailable for additional comment Friday.
MIKE DICK: Career Glance
1986-2002: Serves as principal at Prairie Valley of Gowrie.
2002: Hired as an assistant administrator at the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.
2008: Becomes executive director, replacing Troy Dannen.
2009: Makes sweeping changes to state softball, moving the tournament to a Monday start and using a wristband admission system. The Union sees a $50,000 spike in revenue for the sport. … The Union goes to a coed postseason tournament format for bowling with the state boys’ association.
2011: Oversees a move for the state volleyball tournament from the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids to the crosstown Cedar Rapids Ice Arena due to post-flooding renovations at the Cellular Center. … Pushes through an expansion to five classes for volleyball, basketball, softball and golf. … The Union’s headquarters since 1977, previously a home to Iowa’s governors, is put up for sale. The offices are moved to a West Des Moines complex.
2012: The state soccer tournament ends a 15-year run at Muscatine, moving to Des Moines’ Cownie Soccer Park the following year. … The first five-class state volleyball tournament has a bumpy start, with the schedule running more than 90 minutes late. … The Union reports a profit of more than $110,000 for the fiscal year.
2013: The Union adapts toughened concussion rules, requiring medical professionals’ evaluations before athletes return to play. … State volleyball returns to the U.S. Cellular Center.
2014: State tournament admission prices are raised $2 to $10 for sports such as softball and basketball. Softball income increases more than $30,000. … Pleasant Valley is stripped of its state track title after a postseason inquiry reveals an ineligible athlete competed.