In the spring of 2015, APSU began its search for a new athletic director to replace Derek Van der Merwe who served as the AD for a year and a half, and over 18 years in athletics.
Van Der Merwe was promoted from AD to vice president of Advancement, Communications and Strategic Initiatives.
He made many changes while under athletic director including changing the Gov’s logo and adding a new mascot that lost in a voting competition between students and faculty whether to keep the old Gov or bring in the new one.
Van der Merwe also oversaw APSU build the new Govs Stadium which opened in the fall of 2014.
On Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, APSU officially crowned its 13th athletic director as Ryan Ivey who came to APSU from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Ivey was the athletic director at Texas A&M University-Commerce. Ivey held the athletic director position for the Lions since January of 2013.
Previously, he was a member of the athletic program at McNeese State as the associates athletic director. He has also spent time with the girls basketball team at the University of Memphis being director of operations and worked with the Memphis Redbirds and the University of South Dakota.
Ivey’s alma mater is the University of Memphis where he was on the football team as punter and holder.
During the press conference, Ivey had lots of good things to say about APSU and their athletics.
“It’s a great day to be a Governor,” said Ivey.
Ivey wants to use the APSU athletics program as a center of the community and region. He spoke about how he wants every event to be fun and engaging by have something to do for everyone, whether they are two or 92.
“I want to take this opportunity just to say how humbled and honored I am to be standing in front of you today. This is a tremendous opportunity and one I completely understand and appreciate the gravity and responsibility that come along with it. And I can promise you all that I will work hard every day to ensure that we represent this institution in a first class manner,” said Ivey.
He spoke about achieving all goals and continue to build upon APSU’s Culture of Excellence by being disciplined, hardworking and high character people with a great attitude.
“Now is the time to be a part of the Governor family. If you’re not a part of it, now is the time to jump on board,” said Ivey.
When addressing the student-athletes, Ivey had things to say such as, “We care about you, this isn’t about us… if we don’t have student-athletes, we don’t need coaches, and we don’t need an athletic director.”
Ivey encouraged stakeholders including coaches, staff, faculty, Governor’s Club members or season ticket holders to hold athletics accountable for “doing what they say and saying what they do.”
Next, Ivey spoke about things he wishes to achieve while at APSU.
“We will compete and achieve Ohio Valley and NCAA post-season championships. We are going to be purposeful about winning. Success can and will be achieved at APSU as demonstrated by being in this room. There is a rich history and tradition at this institution and we’re going to continue to build it,” said Ivey.
He said he wants to provide quality and functional facilities for all of the sports to help achieve championships and recruit athletes. Ivey said he also plans to improve marketing by promoting the Governors and increasing exposure and awareness with an inside-out approach.
By starting on campus with APSU but use innovative strategies to build a brand outside of just the campus, he said he plans to increase revenue, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, Governor’s Club memberships and licensing to move athletic’s department farther and wants to engage and energize athletics support at APSU.
“Most importantly, we’re going to have some fun doing it,” said Ivey.
Ivey lastly stated he is looking forward to being in the athletics department and is excited to get started for the 2015-2016 season.
“The future is bright here, and I know we can achieve great things together,” said Ivey.