Dave Blank named director of athletics

Dave Blank, who has served as director of athletics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, since 2000, has been named director of athletics at Elon University. Blank will begin his duties this spring, succeeding Alan White, who retires in May after 35 years at Elon. Details...

>>Dave Blank’s fact sheet

>>Listen to the news conference (opening comments from President Leo M. Lambert and remarks by Dave Blank

>>Watch video of the news conference

“Dave Blank embodies the qualities we were searching for in an athletics director,” said Elon President Leo M. Lambert. “Throughout his career, he has placed a high priority on the success of student-athletes, emphasizing that academic success and athletics success can go hand-in-hand. He is a proven leader who will build positive relationships with students, faculty, staff and alumni. I am confident that Dave will build on an athletics program that has continually moved forward – most recently into the ranks of Division I and the Southern Conference.”

Blank said he is excited to join Elon University and continue the development of its athletics programs. “When the opportunity at Elon came to me, I realized that this was a great next step for me – both in career and returning to my roots in the Carolinas,” Blank said. “I am impressed at the strong leadership provided by Alan White over his long career and I look forward to continuing the tradition of quality in athletics that Elon has enjoyed.”

At Drake, Blank directed a 17-sport NCAA Division I athletics program that competes in the Missouri Valley Conference. He was responsible for the creation of a comprehensive academic assistance program and a new Life Skills program for student-athletes, encouraging participation in community activities and career development. During his tenure, Drake student-athletes have consistently posted a combined grade point average of 3.0 or above.

Drake is a top-ranked independent university with a full-time enrollment of about 3,900. Drake President David Maxwell called Blank “one of the best athletics directors in the country,” who has “left an indelible and much-valued imprint” on the athletic program, and on the university. “Dave has made immense strides in improving the overall integrity and excellence of athletics at Drake, in integrating the athletic program into the fabric of the University as a whole, in hiring terrific coaches and staff, and in generating external visibility, enthusiasm and support for the program,” Maxwell said.

Blank has overseen the addition of women’s crew and women’s soccer programs at Drake, and women’s golf will become Drake’s 18th varsity sport next fall.

Facility enhancements have been a priority during Blank’s tenure at Drake, including upgrades in the softball complex, renovation of the strength and conditioning facilities and new locker rooms for several sports. In April, Drake will complete a $17 million renovation of Drake Stadium, which hosts football, soccer, track and field and the nationally known Drake Relays.

Blank restructured the Bulldog Club, which provides financial support for Drake athletics, resulting in a 90 percent increase in gifts. Blank also enhanced the marketing of Drake athletics to generate additional exposure and corporate donations.

Blank has served as chairman of the Missouri Valley Conference Championship Committee since 2004 and is a member of the NCAA I-AA Governance Committee and Football Issues Committee. He received the Gen. Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Athletics Director award from the All-American Football Foundation in 2005.

Active in the Des Moines community, Blank served on the board of the Greater Des Moines Sports Authority and the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

>>Read about Dave Blank’s Drake career in the Des Moines Register

Before moving to Drake, Blank was at Coastal Carolina University, Conway, S.C., serving as associate director of athletics for three years before being appointed director of athletics there in 1999. Blank directed the CINO Club, increasing fiscal contributions to Coastal Carolina athletics by more than 200 percent. He spearheaded efforts to raise more than $4 million to establish an intercollegiate football program at the university, which began play in 2003.

Before moving into athletics administration, Blank spent eight seasons as head basketball coach at Lock Haven (Penn.) University from 1988 to 1996. Blank’s teams won 118 games during his tenure, making him the winningest coach in Lock Haven history. He was named Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1989 and 1996.

Blank began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at the University of South Carolina in 1982, and served as assistant director of athletics and assistant basketball coach at Wofford College in South Carolina from 1985 to 1986.

A native of Frostburg, Md., Blank attended Duke University for two years before graduating from the University of South Carolina in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He earned a master of science degree in business administration from South Carolina in 1986.

Blank and his wife Leslie are the parents of four children – Dexter, Samantha, Dustin and Davis.