Release courtesy of Matt Higgins – MIAC Assistant Executive Director
St. Paul – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) consistently produces talented and impressive alumni, so it’s no surprise the conference’s recent search for a new assistant director resulted in the hiring of a former MIAC student-athlete. Gustavus Adolphus College graduate Megan Gaard– a two-sport athlete during her college career – will join the conference office staff on Aug. 1.
Gaard, who played tennis and basketball during her days as a Gustie, joins the MIAC staff thanks to a two-year position funded by the NCAA Division III Women and Ethnic Minority Internship Grant. During her two years, she will be involved in all aspects of running the conference, and she looks forward to returning to the MIAC in a new capacity.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a student-athlete in the MIAC and am excited to return in an administrative role,” Gaard said. “I look forward to learning the internal aspects of running a successful collegiate athletic conference.”
Gaard’s specific tasks will include planning the MIAC’s second Student-Athlete Leadership Conference, advising the conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), strategic planning, sports information, social media, championship event management and compliance. Gaard offers tremendous insight and perspective to the assistant director role thanks to her recent experiences as a student-athlete, coach and administrator.
“We’re extremely excited to add Megan to the MIAC staff as our new Assistant Director,” said MIAC Executive Director Dan McKane. “She brings an outstanding skill set and great qualities to the position. She’ll be a tremendous asset to the services we provide to our member institutions throughout her two years.”
As part of the program, Gaard will also be paired with a mentor throughout her two years to enhance her experience. Bethel’s Gretchen Hunt – who is the Royals’ head volleyball coach, assistant athletic director and senior woman administrator – will serve that role during Gaard’s tenure.
Gaard joins the MIAC staff after a year as a men’s and women’s assistant tennis coach at the University of Chicago. In addition to her coaching and recruiting responsibilities, Gaard also worked with event management, promotions, program finances, community service and alumni involvement. Gaard has also worked as a junior tennis instructor, a USTA match official and created her own reports on Gustavus athletics as a sports reporter for GAC TV.
The former Gustie tennis star received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from Gustavus in 2012. She was a four-year letter winner while helping Gustavus capture three MIAC regular-season championships and an additional three MIAC Playoff title. Gaard served as a Gustie team captain and earned a number of accolades for her performance on the court and in the classroom, including All-American, All-Conference and Academic All-Conference honors. She also participated in the Student-Athlete Volunteer Educators program, helping to develop the FAME mentoring program.
“As a former MIAC student-athlete, Megan brings a passion for athletics in our conference and Division III, as well as a familiarity with our institutions,” McKane said. That familiarity, combined with her coaching and administrative experience, will help her hit the ground running and continue to build relationships during her tenure.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity and appreciate the support I have received from current MIAC student-athletes, coaches and administrators,” Gaard added.
This marks the fourth time the MIAC has received the NCAA Division III Women and Ethnic Minority Internship Grant – the most of any Division III conference or institution. Previous recipients include Augsburg College Assistant Athletic Director Kelly Anderson Diercks and Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Assistant Commissioner Natalie Arians as well as Brittany Heinz, who recently worked as Macalester College’s Leonard Center director and, most recently, Afton Goebel, who completed her MIAC tenure in May.
The MIAC, founded in 1920, sponsors 22 championship sports and is home to 13 private Minnesota colleges and universities. The conference is a member of NCAA Division III. The MIAC prides itself on its four core values of Quality Athletics, Academics, Student-Athlete Well-Being and Integrity.